Joplin, Mo. -- The Missouri Southern volleyball team split a pair of matches today in the final day of the 2013 MSSU Volleyball Invitational held at the Leggett & Platt Athletic Center.
The Lions (4-14) played in an exciting five-set win in their first match over South Dakota Mines (6-14). Individual set scores were 12-25, 25-23, 20-25, 26-24 and 20-18.
Southern jumped out to a 8-4 lead in the first set, but Mines took over from there out. The Hardrockers tied the set at eight and took a 9-8 lead, forcing a Southern timeout. The Rockers would then go on to score 16 of the final 20 points to take the set.
The second set featured 15 tied scores and six lead changes, but the Lions tied the set at 20 and again at 22 and 23, before scoring the final two points to take the set. The third set saw just two tied scores and one lead change as Mines took a 11-10 lead mid-way through the set and led for the remainder of the set.
The Lions led 15-12, but the Rockers would score four of the next five points to take an 18-16 lead in the fourth set. Southern would re-take the lead at 22-21 and would hold on to win 26-24, forcing a fifth set.
The two teams traded points in the fifth set as the frame would see ten ties and four lead changes. Southern led 18-17 late, but an attack error for the Lions tied the set at 18. Kills from Krishna Merriman and Katie Politte, however, gave the Lions the match.
Politte had 17 kills and 15 digs in the match, while Merriman added 12 kills and three blocks. Abby Finder had a double-double with 38 assists and 18 digs. Erin Rice had ten kills and five blocks, while Mikayla Avery had 19 digs. Danielle Severns had 14 digs, while Callie Whetstone and Payton Graves had seven and six blocks, respectively.
In the Lions' second match, Southern would fall in three sets to Arkansas Tech (13-8). Individual set scores were 21-25, 13-25 and 20-25.
Politte had eight kills, while Finder added 20 assists. Severns and Avery had eight digs each, while Graves added four blocks.
The Lions will be back in action on Wednesday as Southern plays host to Pittsburg State in a Sonic Trophy Series matchup. First serve is slated for 7 pm from Young Gymnasium.