Volleyball reaches MIAA tourney


KANSAS CITY, Mo. – After finishing the regular season alone in seventh place in the MIAA standings, the Fort Hays State volleyball team has secured a spot in the MIAA Championship Tournament for the first time since 2016. The Tigers will face off with fifth-ranked Northwest Missouri State, the No. 2 seed in the tournament, in the quarterfinal round on Tuesday (Nov. 16) beginning at 6 p.m. in Maryville, Mo.

Central Missouri is the top overall seed after winning the regular season title, while Washburn and Nebraska-Kearney round out the top four. Central Oklahoma, Pittsburg State and Missouri Western will also be hitting the road in the quarterfinal round.

The four victorious teams on Tuesday will then advance to the semifinals on Friday (Nov. 19), hosted by the top remaining seed. The league championship match is then slated for Saturday (Nov. 20).

The Tigers are 7-23-1 all-time against the Bearcats, including two losses this season. But Fort Hays State played the Bearcats close in the most recent meeting, forcing a fifth set and dropping a few points late to lose in that final frame by just three.

Fort Hays State has played in the MIAA Tournament three times, falling in the quarterfinal round each time. The last postseason win for the Tigers came in 2004 when the team reached both the RMAC and NCAA regional title game.


JOPLIN, Mo. – The Fort Hays State volleyball team picked up a three-set victory on the final day of the regular season Saturday (Nov. 13), cruising past Missouri Southern 25-23, 25-15, 25-20. The win gives the Tigers (13-16, 7-13 MIAA) some momentum heading into next week’s MIAA Championship, while the Lions’ season comes to a close at 4-26 (1-19 MIAA).

The Tigers raced out to a 9-4 lead early in the first set, prompting an MSSU timeout, before the Lions stormed back to tie things up at 12. Fort Hays State never relinquished the lead, however, holding off several Lion runs to stay on top. A kill from Morgan Christiansen later in the set gave the Tigers a 25-23 win. Missouri Southern led by as many as four early in the second set before Fort Hays State closed the frame on a 18-5 run to earn a decisive 25-15 win. The Tigers pulled away early in the third set and held off a Lion run midway through the frame to seal the match, 25-20.

Riley Tinder led the Tigers with 11 kills and added 10 digs and three blocks, while Christiansen and Isabelle Reynolds each had nine kills. Christiansen also tallied four blocks and Reynolds had 17 digs. Elysia Glowacz tossed up 20 assists while Olivia Hessman totaled 19 assists and eight digs. Jaden Daffer led the team with 19 digs and two service aces.


PITTSBURG, Kan. – Fort Hays State fell in conference action at Pittsburg State on Friday evening (Nov. 12) in straight sets. The Gorillas escaped with a two-point win in the first set before winning the next two by three and seven points respectively.

FHSU is now 12-16 overall and 6-13 in the MIAA, tied for seventh in the conference standings with Missouri Western. Pittsburg State moved to 15-12 overall and 9-10 in conference play, remaining sixth in the standings.

After an early lead by Pittsburg State in the first set, FHSU rallied back and took a four-point lead three times, the latest at 16-12. The Gorillas rallied back past the Tigers with five straight points and then it was a back-and-forth battle the rest of the way. The set eventually saw a total of 13 ties and six lead changes before the Gorillas secured two straight points for the 29-27 win.

Fort Hays State had a four-point lead in the second set at 11-7, but the Gorillas went on a 13-4 run to build a 20-15 lead. Though the Tigers pulled back within two, the Gorillas were able to close out the set by three points. The third set was all Gorillas as they enjoyed a nine-point advantage a few times before winning by seven.

Emily Ellis led the Tigers with 11 kills overall, followed by Isabelle Reynolds with 10. Morgan Christiansen had six kills without an error. Elysia Glowacz provided 20 assists and Olivia Hessman distributed 14. Jaden Daffer averaged 8.7 digs per set to finish with 26. FHSU had a slightly better hitting percentage in the first set, but Pittsburg State held the advantage in the second and third sets. FHSU finished at .214, while PSU hit .260.

Janae Thurston led the Gorillas with 15 kills, followed by Jayden Sanford with 12. Both hit over .300 in the match. Brianna Richard had 39 assists and Marissa Bates provided a team-high 13 digs.

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