Volleyball chases W’s as Whetstone eyes record

After suffering a road loss to conference opponent Southwest Baptist last Tuesday, the Lions returned home for a weekend series against conference opponents Fort Hays State and nationally ranked Nebraska-Kearney.

Including last weekend’s matches, the Lions are coming down a stretch that has them playing seven of their next 11 games at home.

“There’s an added level of excitement for these guys,” said head coach John Napier. “We have something to prove because we are getting better. We’re definitely better than last year, so it’s good to prove to our fans that come to our home matches that we are a better team.”

“I think it’s a huge advantage for us,” said Monica White. “But, home or away, we’re just going to go out there every game and leave it all on the court and just have fun.”

On Friday the Lions were up against the Tigers of Fort Hays State.

From the jump, the Lions came out guns blazing, going on an 8-2 run before forcing a Fort Hays time out.

The Tigers pulled within three at 13-16, but the Lions never looked back, winning the set 25-20.

After getting off to such a great start, the Lions could never regain that flame and put together a winning set as Fort Hays swept the remaining sets.

The Lions would fight tooth and claw with the Tigers, losing the remaining sets by a total of 11 points.

Krishna Merriman tallied 18 kills and 11 digs. Abby Finder dished out 42 assists and added 10 digs. Katie Wiele had a match-high 21 digs. Callie Whetstone had nine blocks on the night and moved within 14 blocks of tying the single-season MSSU record. She currently sits at 101.

“That’s a team we’re supposed to beat,” said Napier. “Still, this team does not give up, and I’m proud of these guys for not giving up.”

Saturday would go on to be a much bigger disappointment as No. 7 ranked Nebraska-Kearney came to town.  Neb-Kearney did away with the Lions. The Lions fell by a combined point total of 31 points this match. Leading the offense was Katie Politte as she marked nine kills and five digs. Jacy Ermel notched seven digs, while Callie Whetstone moved within 10 blocks of the single-season MSSU record with four blocks. Alxy Gepford and Katie Wiele had six digs each.

Granted, the Lions were without one of their lead offensive threats in Krishna Merriman.

“I had a lot of faith in Jacy Ermel to come in and take Krishna’s place,” said Napier. “I had all the faith in the world in Jacy, and she performed very well.”

The Lions are back in action against Missouri Western at 7 p.m. today.