PITTSBURG — The Fort Hays State volleyball team came up short in Friday's match against Pittsburg State, falling in three sets. The Tigers are now 8-19 on the year and 2-13 in MIAA play, while the Gorillas move to 18-10 overall and 7-8 in league competition.
After celebrating their senior class before the match, the Gorillas came out on fire, taking the first five points before cruising to a 25-12 victory in the opening set. Fort Hays State turned things around in the second frame, capturing seven of the first 10 points to lead by as many as four. The Tigers led as late as 9-8, but a 9-2 run by the home team put them in front for good. FHSU fought back within two (16-14) after a solo block from Tatum Bartels and an Amirah Bentley service ace, but the Gorillas finished strong to take a 2-0 lead into the locker room, 25-18.
A service ace from Bre Becker helped the Tigers open a back-and-forth third set with four consecutive points. The first of 10 ties in the set came at 5-5 in the midst of a big PSU run to thwart Fort Hays State's early advantage. The game of runs returned to the Tigers, who scored four in a row again to retake the lead, 10-8. A kill from Azlyn Cassaday followed another Bartels solo block, tying things up at eight. A Gorilla error gave FHSU the lead before Madison Elwood and Bartels teamed up for a block to double the advantage.
After the teams traded points for several rallies, the Tigers put together five-straight points to jump in front 20-15. Multiple kills from Cassaday, a pair of PSU errors and an Abbie Hayes service ace handed the Tigers their largest lead of the match, prompting a Gorilla timeout. Pittsburg State came out of the huddle on a mission, finishing the sweep after an 11-4 run handed them a 26-24 victory.
Cassaday led the Tigers with 10 kills and 12 digs, posting her team-leading sixth double-double of the season. Amirah Bentley contributed 11 assists, eight digs, two kills and one service ace. Bartels totaled three blocks (two solo) to go along with one dig. The Tigers were limited to a .056 attack percentage, while the Gorillas posted a .212 swing rate.
The Tigers will wrap up the road portion of their regular season Saturday (Oct. 27) when they take on No. 14 Central Oklahoma at 4 p.m. in Edmond, Okla.