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FHSU volleyball closes regular season with loss to No. 6 Jennies

By CONOR NICHOLL

cnicholl@dailynews.net

Fort Hays State University volleyball coach Kurt Kohler expected to start little-used senior right-side hitter Megan Glandon and play her two rotations on Senior Day against University of Central Missouri on Saturday afternoon.

However, Glandon delivered a kill on the first point of the match and had her second one on the match's fourth point. Glandon ended up delivering her best performance of the season against the Jennies, ranked No. 6 in NCAA Division II. Glandon finished with nine kills and a .278 hitting percentage as Fort Hays lost 25-19, 25-22, 20-25, 25-14 at Gross Memorial Coliseum.

"It was just great," Glandon said. "It's my last time playing in this arena and my whole family came out, so it was really great to put on a huge performance and then go out with out with no regrets, not holding back."

Fort Hays finished the regular season at 23-13, 7-10 MIAA, while Central Missouri moved to 24-5, 16-2 MIAA. The teams could meet up again in the first round of the conference tournament Tuesday. Seedings were determined late Saturday night. The Tigers finished the regular season losing five of their final six matches.

The Jennies, long known for a strong offense, hit .279. Three players had at least 12 kills, led by 22 kills and a .471 hitting percentage from Taylor Goodness, a Salina Central product.

"They know how to see the holes and they run a quick offense," said Tiger sophomore outside hitter Sara Hewson, who led her team with 11 kills.

Fort Hays hit just .191 and received little offense from its two all-conference middle hitters in junior Jenna Ulrich and sophomore Kylee Hoagland. Ulrich hit minus-.143 with two kills, her worst hitting percentage of the year. Hoagland tallied five kills and a .143 hitting percentage. Senior Kayla Zoglman, the team's other senior, collected 34 assists.

"I don't think we did a great job offensively today at all," Kohler said. "You really have to not only step your defensive game up against them, you've got to come back with an offensive threat, too. They shut our middles down. ... We are not the type of team that is real dominant on the outside. Megan did a great job stepping up on that side."

Glandon, a transfer from Butler County Community College two years ago, played in 72 of a possible 129 sets last year and hit .207 with 1.61 kills per set. This season, sophomore Taylor Mares earned the spot on the right side. Entering Saturday, Glandon had played just 21 sets with a .132 hitting percentage and 1.14 kills per set.

"The beginning was really tough, but even if you are not on the court, you have a position," Glandon said. "I took on the position of if someone is over me, I am looking out for them, I am telling them what's open, what they are doing wrong and I feel like I really helped Taylor with that this year."

Glandon delivered a season-high in kills, including one on the first point. The kill elicited a big smile from Glandon and a confidence boost. With the strong start, Kohler decided to keep her in the match. She hit .667 after the first set and a .545 after the second. Mares didn't appear in the match until the fourth set.

"All season, I have been struggling just being consistent and that's what's really been getting to me, the first swing, the first kill, the first point, it meant so much," Glandon said.