Pittsburg, Kan. -- The Missouri Southern volleyball team fought back from a 2-0 deficit to win sets three and four, but Pittsburg State withstood a Lions' rally in the fifth and deciding set to defeat the Lions three sets to two. Individual set scores were 23-25, 19-25, 25-23, 25-13, 12-15.
Southern (17-13, 7-11 MIAA) was led by a double-double from Jeanna Feldmann with 17 kills, 14 digs and four blocks. Ashlee Russell hit .341 with 16 kills and five digs, while Elin Skei added a double-double of her own with 53 assists and 19 digs. Shakila Balkhi had a season-high 31 digs, while Rachel Olinyk had 13 kills and four blocks. Kristin Hylton and Katie Collins had 13 digs each.
Pitt (12-18, 5-13 MIAA) was led offensively by Molly Bergkamp with 17 kills and 18 digs.
Southern fell behind early in the opening set, trailing 12-7 before a Lions timeout. Southern tied the set at 19 and took a 21-19 lead on a kill from Russell, forcing a PSU timeout. Pitt tied the set at 22 before another Southern timeout. The Lions scored a point out of the timeout to lead 23-22, but PSU scored three-straight points to take the set.
Both teams traded points early in the second set before Pitt opened up an 18-13 lead midway through and forced a Lions timeout. Southern got to within 22-18, before a MSSU attack error made the score 23-18 and brought about another Lions timeout. PSU would score the final two points to take the second set.
Southern opened up an 11-7 lead in the third set, but after the Gorillas cut the deficit to just one at 14-13, the Lions were forced to call a timeout. Coming out of the timeout, the Lions would get a kill from Feldmann but four-straight points gave Pitt a 20-19 lead and led to another Southern timeout. The set would be tied up again at 21, before a kill from Feldmann gave Southern a 22-21 lead. The Lions would score three out of the next five points to take the set.
The Lions opened up a 10-6 lead in the fourth set to force a Gorilla timeout. The lead grew to 22-12, forcing another PSU timeout. Southern scored three of the next four points out of the timeout to take the set.
Pitt started the fifth set on a 4-1 run before an attack error for the Gorillas made the score 4-2. PSU would lead 8-5 at the turn. The Lions scored two quick points coming out of the turn and got to within 10-9 but two quick PSU points forced a Southern timeout. Two quick Southern points made the score 12-11 PSU and forced a Gorilla timeout. Pitt would score four points in a row out of the timeout, however, to take the set.
With the win, Pittsburg wins the point in the Sonic Trophy series and leads the Lions 3-1 early in the chase for the trophy.
The Lions will be back in action Friday night with a 7 pm match against Southwest Baptist.