ST. JOSEPH, Mo. — The Fort Hays State volleyball team played a decisive fifth set for the third time in the last two weeks Thursday (Nov 7), but the Tigers were unable to take advantage of the opportunity against Missouri Western. FHSU saved a pair of match points to tie things up at 14 in the final frame, but the Griffons later scored back-to-back points to win the final set, 17-15, and the match, 3-2 (25-17, 8-25, 20-25, 25-21, 15-17).

The Tigers are now 6-20 overall and 3-15 in conference play, while the Griffons are now 15-11 on the year and 9-8 in league action.

After the teams went back and forth early in the first set, the Tigers used a 14-5 run to pull away late and win the set, 25-17. FHSU posted an efficient .250 attack percentage, totaling 15 kills and just five attack errors.

The momentum of the first-set win did not last long, as Missouri Western scored 19 of the first 20 points in the second set to take a commanding lead. The Tigers scored five straight points later in the set, but it was too little, too late for FHSU.

Missouri Western continued the hot streak early in the third set, jumping out to a 13-6 lead. FHSU bounced back to score the next six points, closing within one. The Griffons managed to respond just before the Tigers tied things up, scoring the next three points to pad the lead to four. The Tigers closed within three on five more occasions but could never get any closer.

The Tigers recorded their best offensive performance of the night to tie things up in the fourth set, posting a swing rate of .350 (18-4-40). The teams traded points until the midway point when FHSU tallied four points in a row, turning a 13-13 tie into a 17-13 lead. That advantage was all the Tigers would need to hold on and force a decisive fifth set.

Missouri Western came out firing in the fifth set, doubling up the Tigers midway through the frame, 10-5. Two Tiger kills and two attack errors helped FHSU close within one, 10-9. The Griffons regained control to soon reach match point at 14-12, but the Tigers fought off both match point opportunities to stay alive. The teams traded the next two points before MWSU closed the match with back to back points, winning the fifth set 17-15.

Delaney Humm led the Tigers with 17 kills and added a season-high 21 digs while Tatum Bartels recorded 14 kills to just four errors on 31 swings. Mykah Eshbaugh added a season-high nine kills on just 21 swings. Katie Darnell led the team with 25 assists and Abbie Hayes paced the Tigers with 24 digs.

The Tigers will return to Hays to wrap up the regular season one week from Friday on Nov. 15. FHSU will host Pittsburg State at noon before taking on Missouri Southern at noon on Saturday (Nov. 16).