Morning Sun
  • Gorillas block Drury

  • Pittsburg State made it a dreary night Wednesday for Drury, defeating the Panthers 3-0 (25-12, 25-17, 25-17) on “Gorillas Block Breast Cancer Night.”

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  • Pittsburg State made it a dreary night Wednesday for Drury, defeating the Panthers 3-0 (25-12, 25-17, 25-17) on “Gorillas Block Breast Cancer Night.”

    “Well-played,” Pitt State head coach Ibraheem Suberu said. “Everybody on our team did a great job. We’ve been talking about skill execution, technique, form, all of those things that we have control over. The processes were done well today and of course, the result was that we won.”

    “Today, I feel like our team was very balanced and it just felt good,” Pitt State senior Nicole Rockhold said. “Everybody was stepping up when they needed to, everybody was producing in their own role and it just helped us to have good balance all across the court.”

    Drury scored the first point of the match. However, after that, Drury rarely enjoyed a lead — just that one point in the first set, the first five points of the second set and none in the final set. Of a possible 121 points, Drury held a lead for six points and Pitt State led on 108 points.

    “We were ahead the majority of the time because we were passing well and scoring points,” Suberu said. “We were also ahead when our servers were doing a great job of making it difficult for Drury to run their fast-tempo offense. They’re a very quick team if they’re running quick offense. As you can see, when we gave them free ball, they were right on top of us quickly because they can swing very, very fast. Our serve put pressure on them, slowed them down where we could see and get a lot of touches on the ball and our middle blockers did a great job, Brooke Fay and Haylee Gregory.”

    Suberu praised the steady play of passers Rockhold, Christa McCaw and Sam Wyatt and Rockhold praised middle blockers Brooke Fay and Haylee Gregory.

    On a night when Pitt State totaled 43 kills and hit .427, Rockhold and Crystal Whitten led the Gorillas with 10 kills apiece and Fay added seven kills, Paula Okrutna seven, Gregory five and Leah Flynn four kills. Becca Pearson and Hayley Hansford assisted on 19 and 17 Pitt State points, respectively.

    Despite two aces, both from Okrutna, Pitt State helped itself with serving.

    “We served well and when you’re serving well, you’re giving yourself a lot of opportunities,” Suberu said. “Our servers have been serving aggressive in practice and they’ve been in consistent in practice, so it’s good to see them go on the game situation and be able to drive their serve consistently and that consistency certainly helped us reduce points given to the opponent.”

    Page 2 of 2 - Defensively, Okrutna and McCaw each led with eight digs, Rockhold had seven and Hansford added six digs. Fay led with four blocks, followed by Whitten with three, Gregory with two and Rockhold and Flynn each with two.

    Under the circumstances, Alex Smith played solid for Drury, leading all players with 15 kills and Drury with a .357 hitting percentage. Take away Smith from the Drury lineup, the Panthers had 16 kills and 15 errors in 69 total attacks for a minuscule hitting percentage. Alexis Dutt had 23 assists and seven digs; Smith also had seven digs.

    Pitt State (10-9 overall) ended a three-match losing streak and do not play a home match until Nov. 2 — Northwest Missouri (Oct. 14), Truman State (Oct. 19), Lindenwood (Oct. 20), top-ranked Nebraska-Kearney (Oct. 27) and Fort Hays State (Oct. 28) all fall away from John Lance Arena.

    “From the beginning of the year, we took a look at the schedule, we sat our team down and we discussed it,” Suberu said. “We’re mentally into it, we’ve already tuned into it and they know that every road match from now on is something we have to battle hard for. We’ll not be home for the next 2-3 weeks. They know how to prepare, they’ve done well, they’re road warriors and they’ve competed well on the road this year.”
    The Gorillas allowed breast cancer survivor Connie Wedell to be their guest coach Wednesday night.

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