Volleyball team bounces back in a big way

Southern grabbed a much needed victory over rival Pittsburg State on Thursday following a tough patch of the season that saw the Lions drop five consecutive matches.

The Lions opened up conference play Sept. 16 against undefeated Central Oklahoma, going on to lose that match 3-0. But the Lions aren’t rattled as they look to continue to work hard and catch stride in their upcoming matches.

“As a team we don’t view this week as being in a slump,” said Abby Finder. “We have improved our stats every week and are working hard every day to get better. We are staying positive and focused.”

The Lions against Fort Hays State “fought really well,” said head coach John Napier. “We put ourselves in an opportunity to win, so that’s something in the conference we haven’t done in a while. It was very encouraging our performance against Fort Hays State.”

The Lions would go on to drop the match in four close sets. In all four sets, both teams tallied 20-plus points. The Lions had match high in points in the second set, which they went on to win 26-24.

No. 4 Nebraska-Kearney presented a tougher problem for the Lions, who were swept by the Lopers on Sept. 20. The Lopers served well and were firing on all cylinders.

“They were tough,” said Napier. “We responded well; there was no quit in these ladies, and I’m proud of their performance.”

The MIAA conference in volleyball is stacked from top to bottom. The Lions are considered the outside team looking in. This Lions team is a confident bunch and “one of these days, we’re going to steal a victory away from one of these top four teams and it’s going to happen soon,” said Napier.

The Lions are back in action today against conference opponent Missouri Western. Today is the home opener for the Lions. The Lions have been on the road since the beginning of the season and look to make their home debut a big one.

“I’m super excited,” said Krishna Merriman. “I’m excited to play in front of all our fans. I’ll be a little nervous, but come first serve, I’ll be fine.”

“After several weeks on the road, I think it’s important we play at home. They’re excited, I’m excited to play in our own gym,” said Napier.

First serve is set for 7 p.m.