Upset bid falls short for FHSU volleyball


MARYVILLE, Mo. – An upset bid of No. 3 Northwest Missouri State came up just short for the Fort Hays State volleyball team on Friday (Oct. 29), with the Bearcats winning in five sets, 26-24, 17-25, 13-25, 25-23, 12-15. The Tigers move to 11-13 overall and 5-10 in MIAA play with the loss, while NWMSU is now 19-3 this season and 12-2 in conference action.

Fort Hays State trailed by as many as six in the first set, 15-9, before the Tigers got to work. FHSU scored eight-straight points to turn a 17-12 deficit into a 20-17 lead. Jaida Felix opened the run with a service ace before Emily Ellis dropped in a kill. Ellis and Mykah Eshbaugh then teamed up for a block before Felix recorded another ace, prompting a timeout. The sophomore setter added a third ace out of the huddle, giving FHSU a one-point lead. Ellis and Eshbaugh doubled the lead with another block before Isabelle Reynolds wrapped up the run with a kill.

After reaching set point at 24-21, the Bearcats fought back to tie things up at 24. But a Bearcat service error followed by a combo block from Reynolds and Morgan Christiansen brought the first set to a close, 26-24.

Northwest Missouri State responded with big wins in the second and third sets, but Fort Hays State kept things going with another come-from-behind win in the fourth set. The Tigers trailed by as many as eight, 21-13, before FHSU went on a huge run to take control. The Tigers scored 10 in a row to take the lead, 23-21, before adding two more points down the stretch to take the set, 25-23.

Ellis opened the run with a block before pairing up with Claire Olson for a block, prompting a Bearcat timeout up 21-16. Reynolds was responsible for the next three points thanks to two service aces and one kill, helping the Tigers close within two and forcing another Northwest timeout. The Tiger defense took over at that point, with FHSU recording blocks on the next four rallies to gain the lead. Ellis helped the Tigers close within one with a solo block before teaming up with Riley Tinder for a block to tie things up at 21-21. It was Ellis and Tinder again on the following block that gave the Tigers the lead before Ellis went up alongside Olson to end the 10-0 run. Christiansen later delivered a kill to force a fifth set, 25-23.

Northwest Missouri State never trailed in the fifth set, going up by as many as five, 11-6, before the Tigers closed within one late in the set. Reynolds recorded back-to-back kills after a Bearcat error to help the Tigers close within 11-9. Another kill from the senior made the score 13-12 later in the set, but the home team responded by scoring the next two points to hold on to the win, 15-12.

Reynolds led the Tigers with 14 kills while adding 15 digs, two service aces and one block for her sixth double-double of the season. Ellis totaled eight kills and a career-high eight blocks. Christiansen tallied nine kills, four blocks and one service ace, while Eshbaugh tacked on eight kills and three blocks. Olson contributed five kills and four blocks, with Tinder adding four kills, three blocks and a team-high 17 digs.

Elysia Glowacz tossed up 21 assists and added nine digs, while Olivia Hessman added 19 assists and eight digs. Felix dropped in a team-high three service aces. Libero Morgan McIntire totaled 15 digs.

The Tigers finished the evening with 12.0 team blocks, compared to just 7.0 for Northwest Missouri State. The Tigers hit at a .214 in the first set before posting a .146 attack percentage overall.

After the Tigers held Payton Kirchhoefer to just one kill in the first set, the top attacker in the MIAA finished the evening with 23 kills on 53 attempts. The Tigers held Northwest to a sub-.200 swing rate in three of the five sets, with the Bearcats finishing the day with a .229 attack percentage.


ST. JOSEPH, Mo. – The Fort Hays State volleyball team picked up a big road win over Missouri Western on Saturday (Oct. 30), knocking off the Griffons in four sets, 21-25, 27-25, 25-14, 25-19. The Tigers (12-13, 6-10 MIAA) now lead Missouri Western (13-12, 5-11 MIAA) in the MIAA standings by one game with just two weeks to go in the regular season.

Missouri Western built a sizeable lead midway through the first set, but the Tigers closed within one late, 20-19. The Griffons closed the set with a 5-2 run to take a 1-0 lead, 25-21.

The teams went back-and-forth for the duration of the second set, with the lead never exceeding three points. The score was tied 15 times and there were five lead changes, with the final change coming late in the set when FHSU scored three in a row to turn a 21-19 deficit into a 22-21 lead. Morgan Christiansen, Isabelle Reynolds and Emily Ellis all rattled off kills to help the Tigers take the lead, prompting a Griffon timeout. The teams traded points over the next seven rallies before Christiansen brought the set to a close with a kill and a solo block, giving FHSU a 27-25 win.

Fort Hays State raced out to a 16-5 lead in the third set after a rash of Griffon errors. The Tigers led by as many as 13 on two occasions, 19-6 following a Jaida Felix service ace and later 24-11 after another solo block from Christiansen. The middle hitter later teamed up with Riley Tinder for another block, giving the Tigers a 25-14 win.

The Tigers fell behind early in the fourth set, but a kill from Mykah Eshbaugh gave FHSU a 9-8 lead. The Griffons momentarily tied things up, but a service error gave the Tigers the lead for good. Fort Hays State went on an 8-2 run to build the lead to 17-11, including service aces from Elysia Glowacz and Reynolds and kills from Reynolds, Tinder and Jaysa Wichers. Fort Hays State kept the Griffons at bay the rest of the way, going on to win the set 25-19 on one final kill from Reynolds.

Fort Hays State matched its season high with 14 blocks in the match while holding MWSU to a .081 attack percentage. The Tigers also dropped in nine service aces, their most in a match since the opening day of the 2018 season (8/24/18).

Reynolds totaled a team-high 11 kills and three service aces while adding 17 digs for her second double-double of the weekend. Christiansen matched her career-best with five solo blocks, tied for the most in a match by a Tiger during the rally-scoring era. She also totaled five block assists for 10 total blocks, matching her personal best and tied for fifth-most in a single match by a Tiger during the rally-scoring era. The middle hitter also totaled five kills in the win.

Tinder picked up eight kills, 14 digs and two service aces, with Ellis recording seven kills and two solo blocks. Eshbaugh picked up six kills and one block, while Wichers tallied four kills and one dig in just three sets of action.

Glowacz tossed up 17 assists and added 11 digs, while Olivia Hessman also recorded a double-double with 17 assists, 12 digs and one service ace. Jaden Daffer led the team with 20 digs and added two assists.

Fort Hays State will wrap up the road trip on Tuesday (Nov. 2) when the Tigers travel north to take on No. 15 Nebraska-Kearney beginning at 6 p.m.

Sound Off!