Bearcats fight back to take out Lions in five, 3-2

Joplin, Mo. -- The Missouri Southern volleyball team split the first four sets with visiting Southwest Baptist tonight, but the Bearcats won the fifth and deciding set to defeat the Lions three sets to two. Individual set scores were 25-20, 20-25, 25-18, 23-25 and 11-15. 

Southern (17-14, 7-12 MIAA) was led offensively by Rachel Olinyk with 14 kills and a .417 attack average. Ashlee Russell had 12 kills, while Jeanna Feldman added 11 kills and 14 digs. Amelia Judge had 10 kills and seven blocks, while Elin Skei had 45 assists and 13 digs. Shakila Balkhi had 14 digs.

Southwest Baptist (11-20, 6-13 MIAA) was led by the duo of Kylie Heim and Britni Reed as the two had 17 and 16 kills, respectively. Brianna Wallace had 55 assists and 12 digs.

Southern opened up a 9-5 lead in the first set to force an SBU timeout. The Bearcats would not get any closer in the set. Both teams traded points in the second set before a kill from Russell made the score 13-11 Lions and forced an SBU timeout. The Bearcats, however, came back and took a 19-17 lead to force an MSSU timeout and would lead again 22-17 to force another Southern timeout. The Lions fought back and got the score to 22-20 to force an SBU timeout, but the Bearcats scored the next three points to take the set.

The third set was all Lions as Southern led from start to finish. SBU led midway through the fourth set, but a 4-0 run by the Lions made the score 19-17 and forced a Bearcats timeout. SBU, however, scored five of the next seven points to force a Southern timeout and would hold on to win the set and force the fifth. SBU led 8-5 at the turn of the fifth set and led again 11-8 to force a Lions' timeout. Southern, clawed back to cut the lead to 12-11 and force a Bearcat timeout, but SBU scored the next three points in a row and took the match. 

Southern will be back in action tomorrow evening with a 5 pm match against Northwest Missouri for senior day in Young Gym.