Joplin, Mo. -- The Missouri Southern Volleyball team won a five-set thriller tonight with visiting Fort Hays State. Individual set scores were 25-23, 24-26, 25-21, 20-25 and 15-12.
Southern (4-13, 2-3 MIAA) took the first set, despite relinquishing what was an eleven point lead. The Lions led 18-7 after a kill from Rachel Olinyk. The lead was 20-11 after another kill from Olinyk and was 23-15 after a Fort Hays (12-8, 1-5 MIAA) service error. The tigers would tie the set at 23 after a kill from Jenna Ulrich, but an attack error by Ulrich on the next point and a block by Olinyk and Sydney Potts gave the Lions the first set.
The second set started out all Hays as the Tigers led 13-7, but Southern fought back to get within one at 14-13, forcing a FHSU timeout. The lead for the Tigers reached five at 20-15, forcing a Southern timeout and the set would be tied at 24, before the Tigers scored the final two points on kills from Camille Hubert and Kylee Hoagland.
The third set featured nine tied scores and four lead changes, but the Lions took the lead for good at 18-17 on a kill from Elin Skei. Hays got within one at 21-20, but Southern scored four out of the next five points to win the set.
The Lions took an early 3-1 lead in the fourth set, but Hays tied the set at five and took a 6-5 lead on a Southern attack error. They would take the lead for good at 7-6 on a kill from Megan Glandon.
In the fifth and final set, the Lions led 8-6 at the turn, but Hays came back and scored the next four points to take a 10-8 lead and forced a Southern timeout. The Lions, however, came back and scored three straight points to go up 11-10, and went ahead for good at 13-12 on a kill from Katie Politte. A block from Politte and Amber Heiskell and an error on Hays gave the Lions the match.
Casey Ball led the offensive attack for the Lions with 17 kills and 15 digs. Olinyk had 15 kills, while Potts dished out 53 assists and added 10 digs. Rocky Crook had 22 digs, while Politte had 13 kills and Collins added 11 digs.
The Lions will be back in action tomorrow afternoon, playing host to Emporia State at 3 pm in Young Gymnasium.