Lions lose heartbreaker in five sets at Pittsburg State

Pittsburg, Kan. -- The Missouri Southern volleyball team split the first four sets with Pittsburg State tonight, but the Gorillas out gunned the Lions in the decisive fifth set, to defeat Southern three games to two in Pittsburg. Individual set scores were 25-19, 19-25, 22-25, 25-22 and 7-15.

Southern (10-11, 3-5 MIAA) opened up a 7-5 lead early in the match and after a kill from Maria Weller, forced a gorilla timeout. PSU (16-9, 6-5 MIAA) fought back and went on a 3-0 run to take an 8-7 lead before another kill from Weller tied the game back up at eight. The Lions lead reached 14-11 and 20-15, before the Gorillas went on a 3-0 run and forced a Southern timeout. The Lions then went on a 5-1 run to end the first set. The Lions hit .455 as a team in the first set with four kills each from Weller, Renee Rheinecker, and Jeanna Feldman.

Southern opened up a 6-2 lead in the second set before a kill from Pitt's Corinne Stringer stopped the Lions' rally. A net error from the Lions tied the set at nine, before a kill from PSU's Pamela Cartagena gave Pitt its first lead of the set. Both teams traded points before two quick points for the Gorillas made the score 19-17, forcing a Southern timeout. PSU would score six of the next eight points to take the second set. The Lions cooled off in the second set and hit just .121 as a team.

Southern again started the set on a run and opened up a 6-3 lead, forcing a PSU timeout. The set would be tied at 15, forcing a Lions' timeout. Another Lions timeout came after the score was 20-19, before Pitt went on a 5-3 run to end the set. Southern hit .311 in the third set, but the Gorillas hit .366 with just one error.

Both teams traded points in the fourth set, before the Lions took a 22-21 lead, forcing a Pitt timeout. Coming out of the timeout, the Lions scored three of the next four points to take the fourth set. Southern hit .324 as a team in the set.

Pitt led 8-5 at the turn in the fifth set and another point made the score 9-5, forcing a Lions timeout. The score was 12-7, PSU before another Lions' timeout and Pitt continued the run, scoring the final three points to close out the match.

Rheinecker had a career-high 20 kills tonight, and hit .348. Elin Skei dished out a career-high 62 assists, while Feldman had 19 kills and nine digs. Weller finished with 12 kills, while Kari Hammerbacher had a match-high 20 digs. Stefanie Williams and Daphne Merrick had 12 and 11 digs, respectively.

The Lions hit .255 as a team and had 12 team blocks led by seven from Skei.

Southern will be back in action this Friday night when they play host to Southwest Baptist at 7 pm.