Volleyball falls twice during weekend


ST. JOSEPH, Mo. – The Fort Hays State volleyball team fell in five sets Saturday (Sept. 24) at Missouri Western, 19-25, 25-15, 25-23, 21-25, 7-15. The Tigers (6-8, 1-5 MIAA) led the way in kills, service aces and blocks, but the Griffons (4-9, 1-4 MIAA) built enough of an edge in offense to take the match.

The lead changed hands three times early in the first set before Missouri Western pulled away midway through the frame. Fort Hays State rallied late to close within two after trailing by as many as six, but the Griffons finished off the set with a 6-2 run.

Fort Hays State pulled away after and early back-and-forth in the second set, scoring eight in a row to turn a 6-5 deficit into a 13-6 lead. Gracie Rains opened the run with a kill before five consecutive Griffon errors, including a solo block from Emily Ellis and a combo block from Ellis and Caiya Stucky. The lead grew to nine later in the set following an ace from Ellis and kills from Morgan Christiansen and Stucky before a Rains kill finished off the 25-15 rout. Fort Hays State recorded a .343 attack percentage in the set while racking up four blocks.

Three service aces and 13 more kills helped Fort Hays State take a 2-1 lead in the match with a narrow 25-23 win in the third set. The Tigers led by as many as three, 13-10, on a Kirsten Evans service ace before Missouri Western stormed in front by four, 21-17. Fort Hays State called a timeout to regroup and promptly scored five in a row to regain the lead, 22-21. Rains opened the run with a kill before Jaden Daffer dropped in an ace. A block from Claire Olson and Ellis gave the Tigers the lead before Ellis later brought the set to an end with another kill.

Fort Hays State jumped in front by three early in the fourth set, but MWSU quickly bounced back to take a 7-6 lead. The Tigers later trailed by four, 15-11, before storming back to tie things up at 19 with an 8-4 run. The Griffons regained control after that point, scoring six of the final eight points to win 25-21, before leading for most of the fifth set to win 15-7.

A pair of Tigers reached double figures in kills, led by 12 from Riley Tinder and 10 from Ellis. Tinder added 13 digs for her second double-double of the weekend and fifth of the season, while Ellis also chipped in a team-high three service aces and five blocks (two solo). Felix recorded 19 assists, with Stucky adding 18 assists, four kills, eight digs and one block. Missouri Western was led by Danielle Moje’s 15 kills.

Fort Hays State will wrap up a three-match road trip Tuesday (Sept. 27 6 p.m.) at No. 7 Nebraska-Kearney before returning to Gross Memorial Coliseum to host No. 11 Northwest Missouri State for the annual Dig Pink match on Saturday (Oct. 1, 3 p.m.)


WARRENSBURG, Mo. – The Fort Hays State volleyball team came out strong against No. 17 Central Missouri Friday evening (Sept. 23), taking the first set before ultimately falling in four frames, 25-23, 17-25, 13-25, 19-25.

The Tigers never trailed in the opening set, with FHSU capturing the first four points and seven of the first eight, prompting an early UCM timeout. The Jennies made three errors in the early going with Riley Tinder, Claire Olson, Morgan Christiansen and Jaida Felix all contributing kills during the early run. Fort Hays State stretched the lead to seven thanks in part to a service ace from Kirsten Evans before leading by as many as eight following another Tinder kill, 19-11.

The Jennies battled back after that point, scoring the next eight points to tie things up at 19. The teams then traded points after Tinder broke up the UCM run before the Tigers scored four in a row to reach set point. Gracie Rains opened the run with a kill before Emily Ellis followed suit. Jaden Daffer recorded a service ace to give the Tigers a three-point lead before a kill from Olson put the Tigers one point away from sealing the set. The Jennies responded once more, closing within one after scoring three in a row, but Ellis secured the win with her fourth kill of the set.

Fort Hays State led by three early in the second set before the efficient UCM offense came alive, totaling 14 kills on 47 swings to pull away with a 25-17 win. A pair of big runs over the heart of the third set gave the Jennies a sizeable lead before the home team ultimately took a 2-1 lead with a 25-13 victory. Central Missouri led by as many as nine early in the fourth set, but the Tigers fought all the way back to close within three, 20-17, following a 7-2 run. The Jennies bounced back to keep the Tiger run at bay, scoring five of the final seven points to complete the come-from-behind victory.

The Tigers finished the match with an attack percentage of .151, while UCM turned in a swing rate of .290 as a team. Fort Hays State kept pace in digs, totaling 64 digs as a team compared to 70 from the Jennies.

Tinder and Ellis tied for the team lead with 12 kills each, while Tinder added 15 digs for her fourth double-double of the season. Daffer led the team with 19 digs and two service aces, while Felix (20 assists) and Caiya Stucky (14 assists) combined for 34 of FHSU’s 37 assists. Kersti Nix paced the Jennies with 24 kills and six block assists.

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