ST. JOSEPH, Mo. — A late rally from the Fort Hays State volleyball team wasn't enough against Missouri Western Saturday, with the Griffons holding on to win in three sets. The Tigers move to 6-13 on the year and 0-7 in MIAA play, while Missouri Western is now 10-9 overall and 3-4 in league action.
The Tigers kept things close in the opening set, leading as late as 7-6 after consecutive kills from Ashley Webb and Kayla Vitztum. Missouri Western started to pull away at that point, using a 14-4 run to go in front by nine, 20-12, before taking the set 25-16. The Griffons quickly went in front in the second set, 7-2, keeping that pace throughout the frame to take a 2-0 lead, 25-8.
Fort Hays State came out of the locker room on a mission, rushing out to a five-point lead, 6-1. Jordan Eshbaugh combined with Isabelle Reynolds and Azlyn Cassaday early for a pair of blocks before Cassaday knocked down back-to-back kills to put the Tigers in front 5-1. Abbie Hayes wrapped up the run with a service ace, giving the Tigers their largest lead of the match. Fort Hays State led as late as 11-7, but Missouri Western bounced back to score 15 of the next 22 points to jump in front, 22-18. Tatum Bartels trimmed the deficit to two with back-to-back kills before the Griffons reached match point with two points of their own. Consecutive Griffon errors followed another kill from Bartels, helping the Tigers close within one, 24-23. Missouri Western broke the skid after a game-winning kill from Ali Tauchen, winning the final set 25-23.
Azlyn Cassaday led the Tigers with eight kills, 11 digs and a pair of blocks. Bre Becker led the team with 15 assists while Hayes added 10 digs and the lone Tiger service ace.
The Tigers will return to action next weekend when they travel to Warrensburg, Mo. to take on Central Missouri Friday at 6 p.m.