By AUSTIN COLBERT

acolbert@dailynews.net

The Fort Hays State University volleyball team was cruising along in the first set against visiting Northwest Missouri State University on Saturday at Gross Memorial Coliseum. Despite building a 19-14 lead, the Tigers were helpless as it slowly disappeared in a 25-22 set loss.

"Offensively we didn't do our job today. It hurts you against a team like this. Offensively they are pretty good. They struggled at times today, but they took advantage of the things we didn't do well," FHSU coach Kurt Kohler said. "They took that first game and I think it kind of deflated us a little bit. I thought the effort was there all day, we just didn't execute the skills that we needed on the floor, and that's always going to cost you."

The Tigers would also lose the final two sets in a 3-0 loss to the Bearcats, the fifth consecutive loss for FHSU (7-11 overall, 2-8 MIAA). The Tigers also fell to Missouri Western University on Friday night, 3-1.

FHSU played Northwest (9-9, 6-4) fairly even in the second set, but let a 15-14 lead turn into a 25-22 set loss. The third set belonged to the Bearcats the entire way, a 25-15 set win for Northwest.

"It's hard when you are down 2-0. I thought we really challenged there in the third set, too, but we let Northwest Missouri State take two different runs of four points," Kohler said. "You can't do that. You fall behind so quickly that way. So we just need to fix some of the execution issues that we have. We will still be a good team. I think we are a good team, we just need to fix some problems."

The Tigers were held to a .075 attack percentage against the Bearcats. Mallory Flagor led the team with eight kills, followed by seven from Sara Hewson and six from Rebekah Spainhour. Libby Ary had 15 assists and Keanu Bradley 20 digs.

FHSU will look to correct its recent woes against Emporia State University (7-7, 3-6) at 6 p.m. Tuesday at GMC.

"We got great athletes in the gym, just need to fix some problems and Emporia is kind of doing the same thing," Kohler said. "It's going to be a tough match. We really need to bring the energy and we need to play a whole lot more efficiently on the floor. Our passes need to be a whole lot better."