Hornets rally to sting Tigers in five sets


EMPORIA, Kan. – Fort Hays State held a two-set lead on Monday (Oct. 11), but Emporia State rallied on its home floor winning three straight sets to complete a comeback. The Hornets held off a late rally by the Tigers and took the decisive set 16-14.

The Tigers jumped out to a commanding lead in the match by winning the first two sets by the same narrow margin of 25-23. Emporia State controlled the third set to win 25-17 and then posted a 25-20 win in set four to force the decisive set. Emporia State held leads of 9-5 and 11-7 in the fifth, but FHSU climbed back to tie the score at 13-13. The Tigers fought off one match point at 14-13, but the Hornets took the set 16-14 with back-to-back kills from Orianna Clements and Ainslee Stapp.

The first set was a back-and-forth battle with 11 ties and four lead changes. The Tigers moved into the lead for good at 20-19 on a service ace by Morgan McIntire. The Tigers led 24-21 and saw the Hornets fight off a couple set points before Emily Ellis ended the frame with a kill. Riley Tinder put down seven kills in the set, while Isabelle Reynolds and Ellis had five each.

After an early lead by the Hornets in the second set, the Tigers went on a 6-0 run to take a controlling 9-4 lead. The lead reached six points at 15-9, but Emporia State went on a strong run to pull within one four times before FHSU held on at the end. The Hornets fought off three set points before a service error handed the Tigers the set.

The teams tied three times up until the score of 4-4 in the third set. Emporia State went on to control the remainder of the frame by going on a 6-0 run. The Tigers pulled within two at 13-11, but the Hornets steadily pulled back away to claim their first set of the match.

Emporia State held a four-point lead five times in the fourth set, but FHSU rallied to within a point twice late in the set. A kill by Claire Olson pulled the Tigers within one at 21-20, but ESU scored three of the final four points of the set on Tiger mistakes.

The Tigers held an early advantage in the fifth set only to see the Hornets go on an 8-2 run to build a four-point lead at 9-5. Down 13-10, the Reynolds and Tinder put down kills and then a Hornet attacking error knotted the set at 13-13. But, the Hornets went on to prevail by winning three of the next four points contested.

Tinder led the Tigers with 18 kills and 22 digs. She hit .240 in the match with a team-high 50 attacking attempts. Reynolds and Ellis each had 11 kills and Olson jumped into double figures with 10. Elysia Glowacz distributed 32 assists, flanked by Jaida Felix with 14. Along with Tinder, Jaden Daffer (18), Reynolds (17), and Felix (14) reached double figures in digs.

Megan Stretton led the Hornets in kills with 17, followed by Shelby Ebert with 12, Clements with 11 and Mikayla Simons with 12. Riley Fornelli produced a match-high 35 digs for the Hornets.

The Tigers will be back at home later this week to host Missouri Southern (Friday) and Pittsburg State (Saturday) at Gross Memorial Coliseum.

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