Life is tough on the road

Portland State volleyball had a tough time on the road this weekend, losing its second and third matches in conference play and waking up to the harsh reality that is 2003 Big Sky volleyball.

“When we saw the schedule, we knew that we had the toughest first two weeks in the conference,” head coach Jeff Mozzochi said Monday afternoon before practice. “Being on the road the week classes start isn’t easy.”

On Thursday night of last week, the Vikings took on Idaho State in Pocatello, Idaho, and lost in three games (30-22, 30-23, 30-18) to the Bengals.

The loss was the Viks second of the season, since they opened Big Sky play against Eastern Washington on Sept. 26.

Lisa Thomas led the Vikings with a .333 hitting percentage in the match, along with three service aces and five blocks. Senior Richell Wilson recorded her sixth double-double of the season with 15 kills and 10 digs. Junior setter Stephanie Lavigne had 29 assists.

Defensively, Jessica Brodie was second in digs with seven, and the Vikings had seven less than the Bengals.

The difference in the match came on errors, with the Vikings committing 13 more than the Bengals. Idaho State also out-hit PSU .349 to .064 and notched 17 more kills.

PSU vs. Weber State

From Pocatello, PSU traveled to Ogden, Utah, to take on Weber State. The Vikings lost the match in three games (30-28, 30-25, 30-24) to the Wildcats, extending their losing streak to three.

The main difference in the match was blocking, with the Wildcats totaling 21 block assists to the Vikings’ six. The Viks had five total team blocks as opposed to the Wildcats 10.5.

And with the difference in blocks came a difference in hitting percentages. PSU was held to .198 by the Wildcats, who recorded a .308. Weber State out-killed PSU 54-48 and also had 10 more digs in the match.

The Viks were led offensively by Wilson, who had 15 kills in the match and is now 40 away from recording her 1,000th career kill, and freshman middle hitter Marla Morin, who had 12 kills and a .258 hitting percentage in her first full match.

Thomas, who had a good weekend, also had eight kills and a .400 hitting percentage.

Lavigne had 38 assists and in the process recorded her 1,900th career assist. Lavigne moved to 7th place on the all-time list, knocking assistant coach and former Viking Katie Kaysinger off.

On the defensive side, Sara Leenders led with nine digs, and Thomas had three blocks.

Opening with three road losses is a sign of trouble for the Vikings. They had a very productive and fruitful preseason. They now drop to 9-5 overall and 0-3 in conference play.

Brodie said Monday afternoon that the team had a long talk and came to some realizations about changes that need to be made.

“We need to bond more as a team,” she said. “We’ve been playing more as individuals than a unit.”

Mozzochi and Wilson also pointed out the youth of the team as a mitigating circumstance. This weekend, the Viks had seven new players included in the 12 they normally travel with

“Obviously, we’re still going to be making adjustments,” Mozzochi said.

The Viks will try to make some adjustments this week as they prepare for their home opener against the Sacramento State Hornets this Friday at 7 p.m. in the Peter Stott Center.

The Viks will also take on the Northern Arizona Lumberjacks on Saturday in PSC at 7 p.m.