Tigers break four-game losing streak with win over Emporia

BY RAEGAN NEUFELD
PHOTOS BY MADISON SHAPLAND

The Fort Hays State volleyball team avenged their September 10 loss to Emporia State on Tuesday night, taking care of the Hornets in straight sets.

After suffering losses to #6 Nebraska-Kearney and #10 Northwest Missouri State last week, the Tigers, aided by a 9-0 run, won the first set against ESU 25-15. The Hornets were never behind by much in the next two sets, but FHSU ultimately had the edge and won 25-22 and 25-20. The win brings the Tigers’ record to 7-10 overall and 2-7 in conference play, while ESU drops to 4-14 and 1-8.

“Today we really wanted to focus on executing the game plan Coach is giving us, and executing the hitting and passing,” senior outside hitter Mykah Eshbaugh said. “We have all the pieces, today was just about putting everything together.”

The Tigers finished with 47 kills and a 21.6 hitting percentage, compared to 32 kills and an 11.0 hitting percentage from the Hornets. FHSU also bested their opponents in digs – 64 to 58 – and service aces – eight to three. 

“Our conference brings a lot of energy, so the fact that we brought that tonight on an extra level says a lot about our team and where we’re heading,” Eshbaugh said.

Eshbaugh led the team in kills with 11, followed by Riley Tinder who had 10 and Emily Ellis who had nine. Tinder also had 16 digs, just behind Jaden Daffer who had 20. Ellis, Morgan Christiansen and Claire Olson each recorded three total blocks.

ESU was led by Leah Mach who had seven kills, and Riley Bernskoetter and Shelby Ebert who had 13 and 15 digs, respectively.

“[Our energy and confidence] were so important today,” Daffer said. “And they’ll continue to be, especially for the next two games this weekend.”

Eshbaugh shared the same sentiment.

“Something we’re going to take away from today is confidence, and our good communication,” she said.

Up next for FHSU are back-to-back games against Missouri Southern and Pittsburg State on Friday and Saturday. First serve against the MSSU Lions is set for 6:00 p.m. Friday. 

Emily Ellis prepares for serve receive, holding up numbers that tell her team where the opposing setter is.
Brooke Hyland receives a pass, giving the setter a perfect set up to make a play.
Ciaya Stucky keeps her eyes on the prize as she sets to an outside hitter. She ends with 19 assists for the tigers.
Winding up to smash the ball, Riley Tinder wins a point for the tigers with her hit. With 10 kills, she had the second most for the team.
Claire Olson and Ellis reach together to block Emporia’s hit, just missing the ball.
In the second match Emporia keeps up with Fort Hays. As the score gets closer, Jaida Felix and head coach, Jessica Wood-Atkins, game plan in between plays.
Morgan Christiansen spikes the ball past defenders to re-energizing the tigers.
Tinder serves as Fort Hays gets the ball back.
Stucky launches for a surprising short ball during the match.
Stucky and Christiansen size up the ball position to line up for a block. The tigers rack up eight blocks to Emporia’s seven.
Jaden Daffer passes an incoming ball.
Mykah Eshbaugh finds a spot on the court and tips it, catching the defense off guard. “Today we really wanted to focus on executing the game plan Coach is giving us, and executing the hitting and passing,” she stated.
Ellis celebrates a kill and win for the Lady Tigers. “Our energy and confidence were so important today and will continue to be, especially for the next two games this weekend” Daffer stated.

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