The Fort Hays State volleyball team took No. 14 Northwest Missouri State to the brink before falling in five sets Saturday (Nov. 2), 19-25, 25-21, 25-18, 23-25, 13-15. The Tigers move to 6-18 overall and 3-13 in MIAA play, while the Bearcats are now 18-6 on the year and 11-5 in league action.
Fort Hays State tallied more total points than the Bearcats on the night, 105-104. Northwest pulled away late in the opening set, but the Tigers controlled much of the next two frames to go in front, 2-1. The Tigers led as late as 23-22 in the fourth set, but Northwest captured the next three points to force a decisive fifth set. FHSU scored the first four points and later led 10-7 before the Bearcats rallied to steal the set and the match.
The Tigers outhit Northwest Missouri State in the match, posting a .217 attack percentage to the Bearcats' .207. Three Tigers reached double figures in kills, including 20 from Delaney Humm, 15 from Isabelle Reynolds and 11 from Tatum Bartels. Humm added 13 digs for her 11th double-double of the season while adding four blocks and two aces. Bartels matched Humm with a team-best four blocks and two service aces. Katie Darnell tossed up 42 aces alongside 12 digs, three kills and one block. Abbie Hayes led the team with 18 digs, with Taylor White adding 14 digs and a pair of service aces.
Northwest scored seven of the first 10 points in the match before the Tigers battled back to take a 9-8 lead thanks to a 6-1 run. After the teams traded points for the next several rallies, the Bearcats closed the set on a 12-6 run to turn a 13-13 tie into a first-set victory.
The start of the second set was a near mirror image of the opening frame, with FHSU jumping in front 7-3 before the Bearcats clawed back to go in front 9-8. The Tigers responded by scoring the next five points, forcing a Northwest timeout. The Bearcats later closed within three, 16-13, before four-straight points gave the Tigers a seven-point lead, 20-13. Reynolds gave the Tigers a chance at set point with a kill before Humm leveled the match at one with a kill on the final rally.
The Fort Hays State offense hit its stride in the third set, recording a .429 attack percentage (17-2-35). The teams traded points for the first half of the frame before the Tigers scored five consecutive points to break a 12-12 tie. Northwest broke up the run with a kill before FHSU tallied four more points to go in front 21-13. Reynolds tallied kills on four of the last five points for the Tigers, handing FHSU a 2-1 lead in the match.
The teams traded short runs for much of the fourth set before Northwest went in front 19-15. After a lengthy delay for the officials to discuss the number of substitutions remaining, the Tigers went on a 7-2 run to take a 22-21 lead. White dropped in a pair of service aces during the run, including the go-ahead point for the Tigers. Humm handed the Tigers a 23-22 lead with a kill, but Northwest captured the final three points to force a deciding fifth set.
Bartels recorded a pair of kills before teaming up with Darnell for a block to help the Tigers score the first four points of the final frame. The Bearcats closed within two, 8-6, before Morgan Christiansen and Humm combined for a block to push the lead back to three. Humm added a kill two points later to make the lead 10-7 before the Bearcats closed the match on an 8-3 run to secure the win.
The Tigers wrap up a quick three-match homestand Tuesday (Nov. 5) when No.2 Nebraska-Kearney makes the short drive to Hays. First serve is set for 6 p.m.