Pittsburg, Kan. -- The Missouri Southern volleyball team won a thrilling five-set match tonight at John Lance Arena, coming from the brink of a loss to defeat Pittsburg State, three sets to two in the first match of the Sonic Trophy Series. Individual set scores were 25-23, 25-22, 16-25, 20-25 and 16-14.
Southern (2-8, 0-2 MIAA) got a pair of career-highs from freshmen Katie Politte and Casey Ball as both tallied 22 kills on the night. Sydney Potts had a career-high 62 assists and 19 digs, while Rocky Crook had a career-high 31 digs. Rachel Olinyk and Amber Heiskell had 12 and 11 kills, respectively, while Elin Skei had 12 digs.
Pitt (2-9, 1-1 MIAA) drops a a match at home to the Lions for the first time since 1999. The Gorillas were led by 14 kills and a .440 attack average from Lauren Brentlinger.
The Lions opened up the match with a win in the first set. Southern opened up a 10-6 lead early on after a kill by Olinyk, but the Gorillas tied the set at 13, 14 and 15, before the Lions went on a quick 2-0 run to go up 17-15. The set was tied again at 19, 20, 21, 22 and 23, before the Lions scored the final two points on kills from Politte and Ball.
Pitt opened up game two on a 10-4 run, before the Lions would rally off four-straight points, forcing a Gorilla timeout at 10-8. The Lions tied the set at 13 and 14 and again at 20 before taking a 21-20 lead after a PSU attack error, forcing a Gorilla timeout. Southern finished up the set on a 3-1 run.
Pitt jumped out to a 3-1 lead in the third set, before the Lions tied it at five. PSU, however, went on a 5-1 run to force a MSSU timeout. The Gorillas would go on to win the set 25-16.
PSU opened up a 9-2 lead in the fourth set before a kill from Politte stopped the run. The Pitt lead reached 18-8, before a kill from Amber Heiskell. Another kill from Heiskell made the score 21-10, Gorillas. Katie Collins, however, then proceeded to serve the next nine points in a row to get Southern to within two at 21-19, but PSU would close the set on a 4-1 run to take it and force the deciding frame.
The Lions started the fifth set strong, opening up a 4-1 lead and forcing a PSU timeout. The Lions would lead 8-4 at the turn, and led 11-6, forcing another PSU timeout. The Gorillas scored the next three points out of the timeout and forced a Southern timeout. The score would be 12-11, Lions, forcing another MSSU timeout. PSU would tie the match at 12, and go ahead 13-12 after a Southern attack error. The Gorillas would lead 14-12, but Skei would serve four-straight points gave the Lions the set and match.
The Lions will be back in action this Friday evening, playing host to eighth ranked Central Missouri at 6 pm in Young Gym.