MSSU volleyball, at 4-0, off to best start since 2010

Sep. 3—The Missouri Southern State University volleyball team is off to its best start since 2010 after defeating Southwest Baptist 3-0 in the Lions final match of the Southern Invite this weekend at Leggett & Platt. That 2010 squad was 5-0 to start its season and ended at 18-14.

Missouri Southern dropped just one set in four matches — a 25-22 loss in the third set to Northwest Oklahoma in the Lions second match on Friday. Southern finished the weekend winning 12 of 13 sets.

The Lions (4-0) claimed all three sets against SBU, all in come-from-behind rallies. In the first set, the Bearcats (3-1) jumped out to an early 7-4 lead. The Lions took the lead at 11-10 and never trailed again in the 25-20 win.

Set two again saw the Bearcats on top early, leading by as many as five points at 14-9. The Lions scored the next five points to tie the set at 14-14 before SBU took its last lead of the set at 15-14. Southern outscored the Bearcats 11-8 down the stretch to prevail 25-23 and set up the three-game sweep.

In the final set, Southwest Baptist again took control early, with its biggest lead being a five point advantage at 10-5. The Bearcats held that lead until 18-18, when an Alana Moesch kill off a Hannah Allick assist put the Lions up 19-18. The four-point run featured two aces by Sydney Unruh and an Amelia Neels' kill. SBU tied the set five more times before taking a 24-23 lead, but the Lions avoided the set point with another Mosch kill, tying the set at 24-24.

The Lions dodged two more set points at 25-24 and 26-26, before logging the final three points of the set to claim a 28-26 win and 3-0 match win.

In the first match on Saturday against Southern Arkansas, Southern claimed 25-11, 25-16 and 25-23 wins for the 3-0 sweep. The Lions claimed an early 6-0 lead in set one and never looked back en route to the 14-point win. In set two, MSSU sailed through the second set and held on for the 25-23 win in a much tighter third set.

In its first match on Friday, Southern set the tone for the weekend and dispatched the Cameron (Okla.) Aggies 25-21, 28-26 and 25-23.

The Lions faced Northwestern Oklahoma State in its second match on Friday and claimed a 3-1 win (25-12, 25-15, 22-25, 25-16).

Fernanda Canedo led the Lion offensive attack, with 49 kills on the weekend. Kyra Thomas added 40 kills and Neels and Moesh each chipped in 32. Hannah Allick logged 82 assists and Landry VanOverschelde had 64. Kyla Randall had seven service aces and three players — Neels, Allick and Tori Hamilton each had four.

On the defensive side, Hamilton led the Lions with 67 digs. Both Canedo and Allick had 40. Neels had 12 blocks and Thomas and Laci Owenby both had seven.

Finishing behind the Lions were Southwest Baptist (3-1), Northwest Oklahoma and Southern Arkansas (2-2), Cameron (1-3), and Newman (0-4).

Southern will look to tie the 2010 team's 5-0 start when it travels to St. Augustine, Florida, this weekend for the Flagler Saints Classic on Friday and Saturday. The Lions open their MIAA schedule on Sept. 15 against Northwest Missouri State in Maryville. Their first MIAA home matches will be against Washburn on Sept. 22 and Emporia State on Sept. 23.