PITTSBURG -- The Pittsburg State volleyball team won its first conferene match of the season to improve to 9-6 overall and 1-5 in MIAA play. The Gorillas defeated Southwest Baptist (4-10, 0-4 MIAA), 3-1 (25-11, 25-17, 21-25, 25-20), on Wednesday evening in John Lance Arena.
Nicole Rockhold and Crystal Whitten each recorded double-doubles for PSU. Rockhold led the team with 13 kills and added 15 digs. Whitten led the team with 16 digs and added 10 kills. Brooke Fay (11), Paula Okrutna (10) and Haylee Gregory (10) also had double figure kills for the Gorillas. Fay led the team with three blocks.
Pitt State easily took the first two sets, 25-11 and 25-17, hitting .419 and .438 respectively. In the first set, Pitt State was able to hold SBU to a .161 hitting percentage. The third set saw the Gorillas run unto some trouble and got behind by as much as 20-13, before going on a run and narrowing the Bearcat lead to 21-20. Pitt State could not pull ahead, allowing SBU a 4-1 run to take the set 25-21 and force a fourth set.
There were five ties and two lead changes in the fourth set. Sbu took an early lead and it wasn't until Pitt State took the go ahead point at 14-13 that the Gorillas gained control for good. A 6-0 run on Hayley Hansford's serve put Pitt State up 19-13. SBU was able to creep back within four point at 23-19 and 24-20, but PSU fought them off and a kill by Whitten ended the match for a Gorilla win.
SBU's Jordan Nedbalek led all players with 14 kills and Carrie Johnson added 11. Kaitlyn Allison led all players with 19 digs.
Pitt State returns to action in John Lance Arena on Saturday (September 27) at 4 p.m. against No. 8 Central Missouri. It will be Girl Scout Day and all area Girl Scouts are invited for a pre-match volleyball clinic beginning at 2 p.m., then to stay for the match, cheer on the Gorillas and take part in a serving challenge between sets two and three.