Lions fall to Pitt State, three sets to one

Joplin, Mo. -- The Missouri Southern volleyball team hit .500 in the first set, but dropped the opener to Pittsburg State and eventually fell three sets to one tonight to the Gorillas in front of more than 600 fans at Young Gym in Joplin. Individual set scores were 21-25, 12-25, 25-23, and 16-25.

Southern (13-19, 6-12 MIAA) had 18 kills and just three errors in the first set, but a 6-1 PSU (23-10, 13-6 MIAA) run coming out of a timeout at 13-13 gave the Gorillas a 19-14 advantage. The Lions would cut the score to 22-19 on a kill from Jeanna Feldman, but Pitt scored three of the next five points to take the opener.

PSU opened up a 7-2 advantage to start the second set, but Southern came back and went on a 6-5 run to cut the lead to 12-8 after another kill from Feldmann forced a PSU timeout. The Gorillas, however, went on a 13-3 run to end the set.

Both teams traded points in the third set, before the Lions went on a 3-0 run to take a 10-7 lead. Southern would retain that lead throughout the set and despite a late run by the Gorillas that cut the lead to one (24-23), a kill from Feldmann sealed the set.

Set four was all PSU. The Lions scored the first point, but Pitt scored the next five in a row and eventually the run was 7-1, forcing a Southern timeout. The lead was as high as eight (14-6) as PSU closed out the match.

Renee Rheinecker led the Lions with 17 kills and eight digs, while hitting .517 in the match. Feldman had 16 kills and 10 digs, while Brittany Vavao-Huggins added 10 kills and six digs. Daphne Merrick had 46 assists and eight digs, while Kari Hammerbacker added eight digs of her own.

The Lions will be back in action this Friday night when they travel to Bolivar to take on Southwest Baptist before returning to Young Gym on Saturday at 5 pm for senior night against Northwest Missouri.