Serving: Portland State’s volleyball team pulls together on the court. They are 9–1 in conference play this season.
The Portland State women’s volleyball team had a decisive first round of Big Sky Conference play. They kick off the second round this weekend with two games, the first on Thursday against the Eastern Washington Eagles and the second on Saturday against the Sacramento State Hornets. The Vikings suffered their first conference loss last weekend, but still sit tied at the top of the standings.
Although the Vikings, 13–8 overall and 9–1 in conference, beat both Eastern Washington and Sac State in the first round of conference play, the team understands no opponent should be taken lightly.
One of last weekend’s top Viking performers, outside hitter Aubrey Mitchell, said, “In our minds we treat every team the same…we have to stay disciplined and keep our identity.”
Thursday’s opponent, Dam Cup rival Eastern Washington, has yet to make their mark, suffering a 0–21 overall and 0–10 conference record. The Eagles’ season has been plagued with injuries, with five of their nine returning players starting the season on the injured reserve list. Although three have returned to the court, the team has had to rely on heavy subbing.
The Eagles have turned to their younger players to take charge and, most notably, have seen success from their middle hitters: sophomore Talia Fermantez and freshman Kellen Barfield.
On Saturday the Vikings take on Sacramento State. The Hornets, 7–12 overall and 3–7 in conference, grabbed their first conference road win against the Montana State University Bobcats on Saturday. The Hornets were led by outside hitter Janelle Currey, who saved six set points for the Hornets to hit a total of 20 kills for the night.
The hosting Vikings come off a split weekend with a loss to Idaho State University and a win against Weber State University. The two teams have notably different playing styles, which forced the Vikings to fall back on their practiced technique.
“We have time now to look at Idaho State and Weber State—and, in general, look at all our first half,” head coach Michael Seemann said. “We won’t be necessarily ignoring and scouting the second round of playing these teams, but especially playing at home and following our first conference loss it’s imperative to keep confidence in all our systems and tweak and improve those.”
The Vikings will bring their talents to the Stott Center against Eastern Washington on Thursday and against Sacramento State on Saturday. Both games begin at 7 p.m.