Joplin, Mo. -- The Missouri Southern volleyball team ran into a hot hitting Northwest Missouri squad tonight as the Bearcats hit .330 as a team and dispatched the Lions in three sets, winning 3-0. Individual set scores were 23-25, 21-25 and 16-25.
Southern (13-21, 6-14 MIAA) hung in with Northwest (15-21, 6-14 MIAA) in the first set, but despite six tied scores, the Lions never had a lead in the opener. Southern fought back from down 21-18 to tie the set at 23, but the Bearcats scored the final two points.
The Lions came out strong in the second set, leading 6-3 at one point, but Northwest scored four straight points to re-take the lead, forcing a Southern timeout. The Lions were back on top 12-9, but once again, the Bearcats went on a run, this time 4-0 and led 13-12 to force another Missouri Southern timeout. Both teams would trade points before Northwest went on a 6-3 run to end the set.
The Bearcats dominated the third set, having the lead for all but one point.
The Lions were led offensively by seven kills from Brittany Vavao-Huggins. Renne Rheinecker added six kills, while Daphne Merrick had 28 assists and five digs. Kari Hammerbacher had 12 digs in her final match as a Lion.
Both Hammerbacher and Stefanie Williams were playing in their final match in a Southern uniform. Hammerbacher finishes her career with 1,504 total digs, ranking her fourth, just nine outside of third place. She holds the Southern single-season records for digs in both a four and five-set match, as well.