On Tuesday night, the Vikings hosted Western Oregon at the Peter Stott Center in a nonconference match. Portland State won in three close sets (30-21, 31-29, 31-29). Richell Wilson and Katie Kost led the Vikings with 14 and nine kills apiece. Stephanie Lavigne had 44 assists and seven digs on the night.
The Vikings have struggled with inconsistency in the Big Sky Conference this season.
The team is currently 2-7, putting it in a sixth place tie with the Idaho State Bengals. Head coach Jeff Mozzochi feels his team needs to approach the rest of the season, which includes games at Weber State, Idaho State and second-ranked Sacramento State, with a positive and determined attitude.
“We know that we’re fighting to get into the conference tournament. No one match will make or break us. It won’t be over until that last weekend,” Mozzochi said.
On Friday, the Vikings will travel to Cheney, Wash., to take on the Eastern Washington Eagles, a team that is currently ranked first in the Big Sky and 16th nationally.
The Eagles seem to have found a lucky number, having also beat PSU in the last 13 match-ups between the teams.
Earlier this season, the Eagles swept the Vikings in three straight sets. Solid play from Wilson, Kost, Kristin Ratzlaff and Lavigne was not enough to thwart the tough Eastern Washington squad.
This time, the Vikings will need to contain Eagles Monica Lynch, Janelle Ruen and Lindsay Page, who were all able to post impressive double-digit kill totals in that last game.
A win over top-ranked rival Eastern Washington would no doubt give the Vikings confidence as they look ahead to the Big Sky Championships in November. Mozzochi is confident victory is within their reach.
“We had opportunities to win past matches even though we weren’t playing great. This conference has a lot of evenly matched teams and it really all comes down to who can mentally execute their game plan.”