The Fort Hays State University volleyball team played its home opener Tuesday night. It turned out to be a challenging night for the Tigers as they faced No. 1 University of Nebraska- Kearney. Fort Hays fell in straight sets in its first MIAA matchup.
The first set was not pretty as the Lopers took an early 1-9 lead. The momentum broke with a service error, giving the Tigers another chance at the serve. The points kept rolling for the Lopers until senior Kayla Zoglman set up sophomore Kylee Hoagland for the kill, bringing the score to 3-15. The set ended with a ball handling error by Zoglman. The final score was 7-25.
Nebraska-Kearney finished the first set with 14 kills on 23 attacks, with no errors to hit .609. Fort Hays’ numbers weren’t as impressive, however. The Tigers had six kills on 27 attacks with seven errors to hit -.037.
Set two was better. Fort Hays was able to keep up with the Lopers for a while. The Tigers earned three consecutive points to trail 9-16, but they continued to slip further and further behind. Fort Hays fell 12-25.
The third set was do-or-die for the Tigers, and as they returned to the court, they were determined to put up a good fight. Fort Hays led the Lopers 3-2, a first for the night, after a double-block by sophomore Sara Hewson and junior Jenna Ulrich.
Nebraska-Kearney tied it up, but Ulrich respond- ed with an angry kill to go up 4-3. A Fort Hays attack error tied the game back up. The Tigers were unable to grasp the lead again, handing Nebraska-Kearney a 16-25 win.
Zoglman led the team with eight digs and 18 assists. Ulrich and Hoagland contributed with six and five kills respectively. Both earned three blocks.
Fort Hays now has a record of 6-4 for the season and 0-1 in the MIAA.
Last weekend, the Tigers entered the Holiday Inn Crossroads Classic in Grand Junction, Colo., hoping to repeat the results from the Panhandle State Tournament.
Unfortunately for the Tigers, the first three matches didn’t end in their favor.
Friday morning, the women started the Holiday Inn Crossroads Classic against the Texas Women’s University Pioneers. The Tigers battled back and forth as the winner had to be determined in five sets.
Set one resulted in a close 22-25 loss for Fort Hays, but the Tigers came back in set two to win 25-18. The Pioneers retaliated and took set three as the Tigers fell 19-25.
Bouncing back again, Fort Hays managed to get the victory in another close set, 25-23.
The last set was disap- pointing as the Tigers suffered their first overall loss of the season. Fort Hays fell to Texas Women’s 12-15.
Throughout the game, sophomore Taylor Mares was key with 19 kills. Ulrich followed with 12.
After some down time, the women got back out on the court to face Grand Canyon University. Despite a close set two, the Tigers could not keep up with the Lopers, losing in the first three sets.
The game against Colorado Mesa University was similar to the Grand Canyon game. The Tigers took another three-set loss, their third loss of the day. Junior Maken- zie Weinman kept busy, covering the court with a team-high of 14 digs.
Saturday was a new day, bringing the Ti- gers the fresh start they needed. Starting things off against Western State College of Colorado, Fort Hays was ready to fight.
The first set went to Fort Hays in a 25-22 victory. Set two was the low-light of the game, ending in a 18-25 defeat.
The Mountaineers put up a good fight in set three, but the Tigers would not allow them to earn another win. The final score of the intense third set was 26-24. Set four ended the game in a 25-19 victory for the Tigers.
Leading the team in kills was Hewson with 16 kills on 33 attacks with three errors for a hitting percentage of .394.
Right after the first win of the weekend, Fort Hays had to turn around and go up against Oklahoma-Panhandle State University.
Saturday proved to be a good day for the Tigers as they finished the Holiday Inn Crossroads Classic with a three-set victory.
The game against Oklahoma-Panhandle State was a breather after the rough weekend. The first set was an easy 25- 12 win, and the second set was even less of a competition with a score of 25-10.
Set three was a bit closer, but the Tigers still took the set 25-17.
Ulrich hit .647 in the match with 11 kills and not an error to her name. Also hitting with no errors were Hoagland and Mares. Hoagland finished with seven kills while Mares finished with four.
Zoglman had 20 of the 35 assists against Oklahoma-Panhandle.
Fort Hays will hit the road to face conference competitor University of Central Oklahoma at 7 p.m. Friday.