OPSU setter Lesly Galarza. Photo by Laura Moya Demures, used courtesy OPSU Sports Info.

OPSU Athletics
Dave Beyer, Sports Information Director

GOODWELL – Upon completion of the fall, non-conference, portion of the 2020-21 season, the Oklahoma Panhandle State University volleyball team finds itself sitting atop the Sooner Athletic Conference schools with a league-best .833 winning percentage. The Aggies (5-1) – winners of five-consecutive matches – solidified that position, thanks to their 3-0 sweep (25-15, 25-19, 25-20) over Mid-America Christian University (9-2).

It was the first time that OPSU had defeated MACU in more than three years, last topping the Evangels on September 9, 2017. The five-consecutive wins is the most in the modern era of Aggie volleyball (since reinstating the sport in 2003, after dropping the program in 1984). The 1981 team also won five-straight matches.

Panhandle State utilized an efficient attack, hitting .272 as a team, as well as its strong blocking game. OPSU took over the No. 1 spot in NAIA statistics for blocking, with 12.5 blocks versus MACU, averaging 3.24 blocks per game on the year. The two Aggies in the national top-10 for blocking – Kennede Jones and Jayden Gormley – led the way with six and seven blocks, respectively, against the Evangels (who managed to hit just .060 for the night).

Jones chipped in six kills, as well.

On offense, a balanced Aggie attack was paced by Sydnee Saunders and Essence West with eight kills each. Saunders notched an attack average of .471, while West was at .217. Each also had a pair of blocks to their credit and West served up two aces.

Freshman Ana Pimenta had five kills and six digs. Setter Celenia Toribio had four kills, five blocks and 10 assists.

Fellow setter Lesly Galarza had 17 assists and six digs. Junior libero Ashley Sanchez led OPSU with 16 digs.