The Fort Hays State volleyball team came up just short in the first two sets against Emporia State on Saturday afternoon before falling in straight sets, 25-23, 25-22, 25-17. The loss moves the Tigers to 8-18 overall and 2-12 in MIAA action, while the Hornets are now 12-15 this season and 6-8 against league opponents.
The teams went back and forth early on before the Tigers tried to pull away midway through the opening set, tallying four-straight points to take a 16-11 lead. Ashley Webb opened the run with a big kill at the middle of the net before combining with Azlyn Cassaday for a block two rallies later. Morgan West then dropped in a kill to give the Tigers a five-point advantage, the largest lead for either teams in the frame. Emporia State quickly rallied to tie things up at 18 after a 7-2 run. ESU took the lead for good at 20-19 before holding on to steal the opening set.
Fort Hays State again stretched out the largest lead in the second set, pulling in front 14-10 halfway through the frame. Back-to-back kills from Webb and Cassaday prompted a Hornet timeout before the Tigers went in front by four on a Hornet miscue. ESU later scored four-straight to tie things up at 16 before the teams traded points for the next several rallies. Another ESU error gave the Tigers a 21-20 lead, but the visitors grabbed five of the last six points to take a 2-0 lead into the locker room.
Two kills from Isabelle Reynolds and a service ace from Abbie Hayes gave the Tigers an 8-7 lead in the third set, but Emporia State responded by scoring the next four points to take the lead for good. The Tigers tied things up at 14 after an Abby Groth service ace and a kill from Webb before ESU went on a 10-0 run to reach set point.
Reynolds led the match with 13 kills, recording just one error on 30 swings to post a .400 attack percentage. Cassaday added 11 kills and eight digs. Groth (17 digs) and Hayes (13) paced the team with digs while each had a service ace, the only two of the match for either team. Bre Becker tossed up 36 assists and added seven digs defensively. Webb matched her career high with nine kills and four total blocks. Fort Hays State was outhit in the match, .301-.154.
Fort Hays State will head back out on the road next weekend, taking on Pittsburg State Friday (Oct. 26) at 6 p.m. in Pittsburg.