Tigers Top No. 21 Northwest Missouri in Four Sets


MARYVILLE, Mo. – Behind an efficient .340 attack percentage on the day, the Fort Hays State volleyball team upset 21st-ranked Northwest Missouri Saturday afternoon (Nov. 5) in four sets. The Tigers secured a spot in the MIAA Tournament with the win, moving to 23-8 overall and 9-7 in the league. The Bearcats are now 21-6 on the year and 9-6 in conference action.

Senior Crystal Whitten led the Tigers with 22 kills, the ninth 20-kill match of her career. The outside hitter posted a hitting percentage of .381, adding 14 digs and a career-high three solo blocks. Sydney Dixon added 14 kills (.324) and four digs, with Megan Anderson chipping in 13 kills and two blocks (one solo). Rebekah Spainhour reached double-digit kills for the 19th time this season, recording 10 kills and two blocks (one solo). Senior setter Hannah Wagy tossed up 58 assists and added four kills, while libero Ari Jacobsen posted a game-high 26 digs.

Both sides had their chances in the first set, with 12 ties and five lead changes taking place. The Bearcats jumped out to a 5-1 lead early in the match, but the Tigers battled back to take their first lead at 10-9. Northwest answered by scoring the next four points, maintaining the lead until a Whitten kill tied things up at 16. The teams traded points for the remainder of the frame, with neither side leading by more than one until a Bearcat error handed FHSU a 26-24 victory.

Multiple kills from Callie Christensen and Whitten helped the Tigers extend a 9-5 lead to open the second set, who held the lead until a Northwest block gave the home team a 19-18 edge. After the Tigers tied things up at 19, the Bearcats used a 5-1 run to reach set point, 24-20. A kill from Dixon followed by a NWMSU attack error extended the set, but Northwest bounced back on the next point to win, 25-22.

The teams went back-and-forth out of the locker room before the Tigers used a 7-4 run to open up a 17-14 lead. Kills from Wagy and Anderson helped the Black and Gold build a five-point edge, 22-17, but the Bearcats came crawling back after scoring the next two, forcing a Tiger timeout. Anderson found a seam to record a kill out of the huddle before Christensen and Spainhour combined for a block to reach set point, 24-19. A strong kill from Spainhour ended the set two points later, 25-20.

The Tigers proved they wanted nothing to do with another five-set match, dominating in the final frame, 25-13. FHSU held the effective Bearcat offense to a -.028 attack percentage in the final frame while recording just four errors of its own. With the score knotted up at five, the Tigers scored five-straight to go up 10-5. The Bearcats closed within two, 13-11, before FHSU went on an 12-2 run to bring the match to a close. Whitten recorded four kills in a row down the stretch, sparking a 7-0 run for the Tigers.

Fort Hays State will wrap up the regular season next weekend with a pair of road contests. First up for the Tigers will be a date with Missouri Southern at 6 p.m. Friday evening (Nov. 11) in Joplin, Mo.

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