Missouri Western volleyball was able to outlast Fort Hays State on Thursday night as they came away with a 3-2 victory in a back and forth match at MWSU Fieldhouse.
Fort Hays State came into the game on a 12-game losing streak and gave the Griffons everything they could handle in an attempt to end it.
The Tigers struck first as they were able to take a 1-0 lead after winning the first set 25-17.
Missouri Western head coach Marian Carbin did not think her team came out flat, but instead unable to execute like they wanted to.
“It was just one of those back and forth matches,” Carbin said. “We came out, I don’t think we were bad in the first set, we just didn’t execute.”
Missouri Western answered back and took the second set in dominant fashion, winning 25-8. The Griffons led 19-1 at one point during the set. Carbin gave credit to great serving by Tiana Butler and Jessica Sachen, making it difficult for the Tigers.
It looked like the Griffons had found there spark as they took set three 25-20 to take a 2-1 lead, but the Tigers did not want to go away as they were able to stay alive with a 25-21 lead in set four.
Going to five sets is something junior Ali Tauchen knew was possible based on how the Tigers had been playing recently.
“They are a great opponent. They’ve taken a lot of teams to five (sets) actually,” Tauchen said. “They took Northwest to five a couple weeks ago. Everyone in the MIAA is competitive, so it’s just important that we come in and play consistently each night.”
Set five mirrored the four before it, as it was back and forth without either team taking control. The score would get to 15-15, but a Fort Hays State error followed by a Danielle Moje kill would finally give Missouri Western the 17-15 set win and 3-2 win.
“In the fifth it’s anybody’s game,” Carbin said. “The team that makes the fewest errors is going to win. I thought we played very aggressive, kept our composure. We went to a brand new lineup we had never tried, even in practice, just to try to slow down some of their hitters.”
One new face was Jenna Bolden, who got to see her first action on the season at setter, giving Lauren Murphy most of the night off. Bolden had not played all season until tonight, but she had a strong game with 39 assists. Carin credited her play in practice for getting the start.
“She had been having some really good practices and our offense was just a little stagnant on Tuesday night at Jewell so we felt like let’s give her a shot and see what she can do and see what our players can do around her.”
Missouri Western moves to 15-11 on the season and 9-8 in the MIAA. With a conference tournament spot already clinched, the team just wants to be moving on all cylinders before the tournament starts.
“We are just trying to play our best volleyball by the time we get to the conference tournament,” Tauchen said. “That way we can make a run at the tournament and go get a spot for regionals.”