Two Critical MIAA Matches In Store for Tiger Volleyball


HAYS, Kan. – With just two weeks remaining in the regular season, two critical MIAA conference matches are on the docket for the Fort Hays State volleyball team this weekend when it travels to the northwest corner of Missouri. The Tigers will face off with Missouri Western Friday evening (Nov. 4) in St. Joseph, Mo. before finishing the road trip in Maryville, Mo. with a duel against No. 21 Northwest Missouri Saturday afternoon.

The Tigers head into the weekend fifth in the conference standings with a 7-6 MIAA record and a 22-7 mark overall. FHSU is two games back of the Bearcats and two games clear of the Griffons in the conference standings. The top eight teams in the standings at the conclusion of the season will advance to the MIAA Tournament, with the top four teams hosting a first round contest.

Fort Hays State maintained its lead in the MIAA and held steady at third in the nation in both kills (1394) and assists (1305) after a 2-0 weekend last week. The Tigers also lead the conference with 2.34 blocks per set, good for ninth in Division II. Head coach Kurt Kohler’s team is 4-0 in five-set matches this season.

Senior setter Hannah Wagy moved into second on the career assists list at FHSU since joining DII (1992) on Sunday, now with 2,432 assists as a Tiger. Wagy’s 2016 total of 1,103 currently ranks second in the nation. Fellow seniors Crystal Whitten and Rebekah Spainhour continue to be the primary targets of Wagy’s sets, with each ranking in the top-seven in kills per set in the MIAA. Whitten sits in second with 4.12 k/s with Spainhour seventh at 3.15. Spainhour’s hitting percentage of .335 also ranks seventh in the league. Whitten ranks eighth in the country with 412 kills, just eight behind her total all last season. Callie Christensen is the top blocker in the league this year, ranking seventh in the country with 118 total blocks (1.18 per set).

Fort Hays State at Missouri Western Friday, November 4 7 p.m. MWSU leads all-time series, 37-13
St. Joseph, Mo. MWSU Fieldhouse

The Griffons hold a 14-12 record on the year and a 6-8 mark in conference action. Fifth-year head coach Marian Carbin’s team heads into the weekend on a three-match losing streak and winners of just three of its last 10 contests.

MWSU has accumulated a .210 hitting percentage as a team this year, middle of the road in the conference. They excel in the aces category, leading the conference with an average of 1.67 per set.

Rachel Friedrichs is the key to the Griffon offense, ranking fourth in the conference with a .347 attack percentage and ninth with 2.93 kills per frame. She also has 33 service aces, most in the league. True freshman Lauren Murphy has been promoted to the primary setter roll over the last five matches, averaging 11.1 assists per set over that stretch.

Fort Hays State is 4-7 against the Griffons with Kohler at the helm, including a 1-4 mark inside MWSU Fieldhouse. Missouri Western captured a five-set victory in its only meeting with FHSU last season.

Fort Hays State at #21 Northwest Missouri State Saturday, November 5 3 p.m. NWMSU leads all-time series, 15-6-1
Maryville, Mo. Bearcat Arena

The Bearcats are in the midst of their first 20-win season this millennium, entering the weekend 21-4 overall and 9-4 in conference play. However, fifth-year head coach Amy Woerth’s squad is riding a two-game losing streak and all but one of the four losses this year have come in the last six matches.

NWMSU has gathered a .216 attack percentage on the year, averaging 12.23 assists and 2.02 blocks per set. They have limited opponents to 10.75 kills per set, second-best in the conference.

Sophomore standout Maddy Bruder leads the team with 3.85 kills per set, third-best in the league. Senior setter Sarah Dannettell ranks sixth in the MIAA with 10.1 assists per set while libero Olivia Nowakowski also ranks sixth with 4.45 digs each frame.

The Tigers hold a 3-8 record against Northwest under Kohler, including a 1-4 record on the road. Fort Hays State won its only match against NWMSU last year in five sets.

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