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Gorillas drop two matches to ranked opponents to open season


GOLDEN, Colo. — The Pittsburg State Gorillas dropped a pair of matches to ranked opponents to open the volleyball season on Friday at the Colorado School of Mines Orediggers Classic.

The Gorillas were swept by 21st-ranked Colorado Mesa 3-0 (25-20, 25-21, 25-14) to open the day before falling 3-1 in the nightcap to No. 22 Colorado School of Mines (26-24, 23-25, 25-18, 25-14).

Janae Thurston led the Gorillas with eight kills while junior college transfer Carly Clennan earned seven kills. Maddi Lapointe tacked on six kills. CMU was led by Sydney Leffler who earned 21 kills. Riley Daugherty had 12 while Emma Shaddix had 10.

The Gorillas battled with the Orediggers, narrowly falling in the first set and tying the match with a second set victory before conceding the next two.

Thurston led the Gorillas again, finishing with 11 kills and an ace. Kate Bandre tallied seven while Seville Gates finished with six.  Ivy Fink earned two aces while Thurston and Jayden Sanford also earned aces.

The Orediggers had three players earn double-digit kills led by Rose Stuewe who had 15. Emily Knight earned 14 while Madison Glassco earned 13.

Pittsburg State closes out the tournament with two matches on Saturday, facing Augstana (S.D.) at 9 a.m. CDT and Colorado Christian at 3 p.m.