Joplin, Mo. -- The Missouri Southern volleyball team dropped a tough five-set match tonight to Southeastern Oklahoma in the opening match for the Loins at the 2013 MSSU Invitational. Individual set scores were 25-17, 20-25, 26-28, 32-30 and 12-15.
The Lions (3-13) controlled the first set, leading from start to finish with five ties in the frame. Southern took a 16-13 lead midway through and scored nine of the final 12 points to take the set.
Southern jumped out to a 4-1 lead in the second set, but SEOSU (8-8) tied the set at eight and led 11-10, before the two teams started traded points. The storm led 19-18 late and scored six of the final eight points.
The Lions led 21-14 in the third set, but SEOSU fought back and cut the lead to two (22-20) late. Southern had two match points at 24-21 and 24-22, but they couldn't close out the set and the Storm came-from-behind to take a 2-1 set lead.
Southern would return the favor, however, in the fourth set as the Lions trailed 22-17 late, and clawed back to take the set 32-30.
Luck would not be on the Lions side in the fifth and deciding set as Southern led 7-3 early on, forcing a timeout for the Storm. The Lions led 8-5 at the turn and led again 12-9 before SEOSU started its comeback. The Storm scored the final six points in a row to take the match.
It was a night of career-highs for the Lions as Katie Politte had a career high 26 kills. She added 11 digs and four blocks, while hitting .256 for the match. Abby Finder tied a career-high with 53 assists as she added 16 digs. Payton Graves hit .310 and added 13 kills, four blocks and eight dighs, while Krishna Merriman had 12 kills, four digs and five blocks. Callie Whetstone had eight kills and eight blocks, while Mikayla Avery had a career-high 20 digs on the night, as well. Danielle Severns added 11 digs.
The Lions will be back at it tomorrow with a pair of matches, facing off with South Dakota Mines at 11 am and Arkansas Tech at 3 pm.