Lions win five-set thriller at Fort Hays

Hays, Kan. -- The Missouri Southern volleyball team won the first two sets of its match at Fort Hays tonight, but the Tigers fought back and won the next two before the Lions won the fifth and deciding set to take the match. Individual set scores were 25-20, 25-15, 22-25, 22-25, and 15-11. 

Southern (12-6, 2-4 MIAA) was led offensively by Rachel Olinyk as the junior had a season-high 22 kills, with six blocks and a .463 attack average. The 22 kills is a season-high for the Lions in a single match, while her 25 points is also a match-high. Elin Skei tied a season-high with 51 assists, while adding nine digs and six blocks. Ashlee Russell had ten kills and seven digs, while Amelia Judge had seven kills and eight blocks. Shakila Balkhi added 21 digs.

Fort Hays (7-11, 0-6 MIAA) had 21 kills from Tracie Hileman, while Whitney Liggett added a match-high 25 digs. 

The Lions never trailed in the first set, opening up an 8-1 lead out of the box. The lead grew to 12-4, forcing Hays' second timeout of the set. Southern led by 10 (23-13) before the Tigers scored seven out of the next eight points to cut the lead to 24-20, but a kill from Olinyk ended the set. Olinyk had an outstanding first set with eight kills and a .583 attack average. 

Neither team trailed in the second and third sets as the schools traded wins. There were three tied scores and one lead change in the fourth, before Hays forced the fifth and deciding set. The Lions led 8-5 at the turn after an error from Hays. The Tigers got as close as two at 11-9, but the Lions would score four out of the next six points to take the match. 

The Lions hit .236 as a team and added 16 blocks, while limiting Fort Hays to a .118 attack average. 

Southern will be back in action tomorrow when the Lions travel to Emporia State to face off with the 15th ranked Hornets.