Thursday night the Vikings volleyball team served notice to Portland State fans: this is the last chance to jump on the volleyball bandwagon. Extending their win streak to six games with a decisive three-game victory over Weber State, the Vikings raised their record to 16-5 (5-2 Big Sky) and are feeling good about themselves their chances to win a Big Sky regular season title.
“Our kids were pretty focused on this match,” head coach Jeff Mozzochi said. “We might have underestimated [Weber State] the first time around. We played with discipline this time.”
The Vikings didn’t take any chances on Thursday night. They took game one 30-19 after jumping out early then held serve in a tough 30-28 match before winning with ease in the third match 30-19. Mostly students made up the large crowd on hand officially listed at 427.
“It feels great,” sophomore blocker Michelle Robertson said. “This win is better than beating Eastern Washington.” Robertson had a strong game, getting six kills on 13 attempts.
While Mozzochi didn’t go as far as to say that Thursday’s win was more satisfying than beating the Eagles for the first time since 1985, which the Vikings did last Saturday, he was happy with the big turnout and even more impressed with his team’s balanced play and solid defense.
“Stephanie Lavigne did a good job of distributing the ball,” he said. “It’s just building confidence for our kids.” Mozzochi also noted Jessica Brodie’s 13 digs and an athletic block that came in the tightly contested second game.
Brodie added 13 kills and had a string of impressive serves in game three but struggled on offense, hitting just a .182 average. She still finished as the Vikings point leader with 22. Yet when Brodie did struggle, her teammates picked her up, much like they have all season when a player has had an off night. Lindsey Steele had eight kills on .368 hitting and Jessica Vanzant continued her All-Big Sky caliber play by adding 16 kills on .379 hitting to the mix.
“They’re playing with more discipline,” said Mozzochi, clearly pleased with his team’s effort.
The win against the Wildcats must feel sweet, as it avenges the Vikings’ 2-3 loss in Ogden, Utah, on Sept. 24. The Vikings have another chance to earn some redemption on Saturday, as they square off with Idaho State at 1 p.m. at the Stott Center. The Vikings lost a 2-3 match in Pocatello, Idaho on Sept. 22.
“It’s going to be the same feeling as tonight,” Robertson said. “We have a rivalry with Idaho State dating back to last year.”