SHAWNEE, Okla. - The Fort Hays State volleyball team earned a split to open the MIAA-GAC Crossover Friday on the campus of Oklahoma Baptist University. The Tigers opened the day with an up-and-down battle against Southeastern Oklahoma State, ultimately falling to the Savage Storm in five sets before rallying to easily dispatch of East Central in straight sets.
Fort Hays State now enters its final day of non-conference play 6-4 overall, while SEOSU moved to 4-5 with the win and East Central remains winless at 0-11.
Freshman outside hitter Isabelle Reynolds led the Tigers offensively in both matches, accumulating 30 kills through eight sets on the day. Bre Becker was sharp at the setter position, posting a season-high 31 assists in the opener before coasting past that mark for a new personal-best of 43 assists just hours later.
Fort Hays State 3, East Central 0 (25-21, 25-13, 25-21)
Fort Hays State was in command all evening against its fellow Tigers, never trailing by more than two points and never trailing more than seven points into a set. The Black and Gold offense was a bit sluggish in the first set before hitting its stride, posting a .289 attack percentage with just three errors in the second frame.
FHSU slowly built a lead in the opening frame before ECU went on a run to close within one, 12-11. Kayla Vitztum helped the victorious Tigers respond with urgency, tallying back-to-back kills to regain the momentum. FHSU went on to stretch the lead to six thanks to a 6-1 run before Vitztum finished off the opening set with a booming spike, 25-21.
East Central took three of the first five points in the second set before FHSU all but put the frame on ice over the next few minutes. The Black and Gold went on an authoritative 12-2 run to quickly turn a deficit into a nine-point lead. Six of those points benefited from ECU errors, while Vitztum continued her strong performance with three kills during the stretch. The Hays native once again secured the set soon after, handing FHSU a 25-13 win.
The third set turned into the Isabelle Reynolds show, with the freshman erupting for seven of her season-high 18 kills in the frame. East Central took another early lead, 4-2, before FHSU rattled off eight-consecutive points to take the lead for good.
Southeastern Oklahoma State 3, Fort Hays State 2 (17-25, 25-19, 14-25, 25-20, 7-15)
The Tigers went back-and-forth with Southeastern Oklahoma State throughout the opening match, ultimately playing in their first deciding fifth set of the year. The Savage Storm pulled away in the final frame, sealing the match with a 15-7 victory. After posting a .136 attack percentage as a team over the first four sets, FHSU regressed to post a -.176 swing rate in the final game.
After coming up short in the opening set, 25-17, the Tigers never trailed in the second frame, ultimately leveling the match with a 25-19 win. The Savage Storm regained control with a 25-14 victory in the third set, quickly going in front 13-5 and never looking back.
The teams went back-and-forth to open the fourth set before the Tigers pulled away thanks to a 9-3 run. Anchored by a pair of Isabelle Reynolds kills and a kill and service ace from Azlyn Cassaday, FHSU was able to take a commanding 19-12 lead. Later in the set, Abby Groth dropped in her career-best fourth service ace to end the set and level the match, 25-20.
Reynolds led all players with 12 kills in the match, with Breann Becker tossing up a game-high 31 assists. Abbie Hayes made 20 digs on the day, adding two assists. The Tigers recorded eight service aces in the loss, more than all but one game so far this season.
The Tigers will wrap up their non-conference schedule Saturday when they take on Southern Nazarene at 10 a.m. before taking on Northwestern Oklahoma State at 4 p.m.