Joplin, Mo. -- The Missouri Southern volleyball team started strong with a huge win in the first set and defeated 12th ranked Emporia State today, three games to one. Individual set scores were 25-9, 22-25, 25-20 and 25-21.
Southern (17-12, 7-10 MIAA) had four players with double-figure kills led by Rachel Olinyk with 13 kills and a .345 attack average. Ashlee Russell hit .455 with 12 kills, while Haley Martin had 12 kills and a .379 average. Amelia Judge added 10 kills and six blocks, while Elin Skei dished out 45 assists. Shakila Balkhi had a match-high 20 digs, while Jeanna Feldmann had 13.
Emporia (20-8, 11-6 MIAA) was led by Brittney Miller with 14 kills and a .346 attack average.
The Lions opened up the match hot, taking a 12-1 lead and forcing two ESU timeouts in the first 13 points. The Lead reached 22-6, before the Lions closed out the set. ESU and the Lions traded points to start the second set, before th eHornets took the lead for good at 7-6 o n a Southern attack error.
The Lions started the third set on a 3-1 run before Emporia tied the set at six, seven, nine, ten, eleven and 12. The Hornets then took a 14-12 lead, forcing a Lions timeout. The Lions re-took the lead at 21-20, as Skei served out the final five points. Southern trailed 17-14 in the final set, before three straight points tied the set at 17 and forced an ESU timeout. the match was again tied at 19, before Skei served six-straight points on the way to victory.
The Lions will be back in action this Wednesday, traveling to Pittsburg State for a 7 pm matchup with the Gorillas. The match is part of the Sonic Trophy Series between the two schools.