Lions barely fall to Divison II Drury Panthers


Kenneth Armant/The Chart

Freshman Krishna Merriman (left) and  sophomore Callie Whetstone work together to block a hit from Northwest Missouri State on Sept. 21. Merriman totaled four blocks for the Lions, while Whetstone totaled seven. The Lions fell to Northwest Missouri State 3-1.

Saturday was the first home match for the Lions women’s volleyball team as the Northwest Missouri State University Bearcats, made their way to Robert Ellis Young Gym. Last season the Bearcats won three sets straight against the Lions, but with the new and positive mindset this year, the Lions were hoping to have a different outcome this time around.

The first set of the home match started with the Bearcats hard-hitting spikes making it a difficult defensive game.  The Bearcats hit .378 as a team in the first set, quickly earning the win 25-14.  The second set was similar to the first with the Bearcats pulling away with a 25-17 win.

The third set saw the Lions hit .220 and they led the Bearcats nearly from start to finish. Southern lead as big as 17-9, but then Bearcats were not giving up easily catching up with a score of 23-21. The set ended with two hits, one from sophomore middle hitter Payton Graves, and the other by junior outside hitter Katie Politte, giving the Lions the win 25-21.

However, the Bearcats came back and won the fourth and final set 25-15 by hitting .357.  

Sophomore setter Abby Finder explained the loss. “They were a very good defensive team along with offensive,” she said. “They dug more balls than us and I think that was the difference in the games.”

Finder also suffered from a bruised ankle the other weekend but said, “It felt great the first three games against the Bearcats. The fourth game I started to feel some pain. My ankle still had to heal more but Kayla, our trainer, has done a great job getting me back so quickly.  I should be back to 100 percent in no time.”

Wednesday the Lions found themselves at Drury competing against a team they were very familiar with.

“We have already scrimmaged SBU in preseason and we lost, so we are mostly looking forward to showing them a whole new team that they won’t be ready to face,” said Junior libero Dani Severns about the match today.

Politte and the Lions made a valiant effort as she had a double-double finishing with 23 kills, and 12 digs to go along with hitting .295 for the match.  Finder followed suit as she put up 53 assists and 12 digs of her won along the way through the match that saw 40 tied scores and 15 lead changes.  In the end Southern fell three sets to two falling to finish the fifth set after having a small 13-9 lead.

Next the Lions will be facing the University of Central Oklahoma.  Last year UCO beat the Lions in three sets, but this year the Lions are planning for a different outcome.