Bolivar, Mo. -- The Missouri Southern volleyball team took the first set, but dropped the next two to Southwest Baptist, before rallying to defeat the Bearcats, three games to two tonight in Bolivar. Individual set scores were 26-24, 21-25, 18-25, 25-21 and 15-12.
Southern (13-8, 3-6 MIAA) was led offensively by Rachel Olinyk as the junior had 18 kills, three digs and a pair of blocks, while hitting .389 for the match. Ashlee Russell added 12 kills and 14 digs, while Amelia Judge had 10 kills and three blocks. Elin Skei had 43 assists and 12 digs, while Shakila Balkhi and Katie Collins had 26 and 11 digs, respectively.
SBU (7-14, 2-7 MIAA) had four players with double-figure kills, led by 15 from both Brittni Reed and Kylie Heim.
The Lions went on two rallies in the first set, one of five points to pull ahead of SBU at 9-6 and then a second run of four to widen their lead to 14-9, forcing an SBU timeout. The Bearcats and Lions then traded several 2-0 runs until SBU was able to put together a 4-0 run to pull back within three points at 20-17, forcing an MSSU timeout. SBU tied the set at 24, before the Lions scored the final two points to take the first set.
SBU opened the second set on a 6-1 run, before a kill from Judge made the score 6-2. The SBU lead was 19-12 before the Lions' second timeout of the set, but Southern cut the lead to 20-18, forcing a Bearcat timeout. The lead was two again at 22-20, before SBU scored three of the final four points to take the set.
The Bearcats had five different 3-0 runs in the third set, as SBU hit .441 as a team and took the set. The Lions trailed 11-7 in the fourth set after a kill from the Bearcats' Jenna Isaacs, before Southern went on a 7-1 run to take a 14-12 lead. The Lions would not trail from that point on and took the fourth set, forcing the fifth and final set.
SBU opened up a 7-4 lead in the fifth set and led 8-7 at the turn, but the Lions tied the set at eight and raced to a 12-8 lead. The Bearcats, however, scored the next three points to get within one, forcing a Southern timeout. Coming out of the timeout, the Lions scored three of the next four points, capped off by a kill from Skei to take the match.
Southern will be back in action tomorrow with a match at Northwest Missouri.