Aug. 26—Earlier this week, Missouri Southern volleyball coach Kalie Mader talked about wanting program growth as she entered her fifth season.
The Lions are off to a good start in that category.
In its season opener, MSSU outlasted Southwestern Oklahoma State 3-2 in a five-set thriller in the first match of the Missouri Southern Invite on Thursday night at Robert Ellis Young Gymnasium.
The Lions fell 25-18 in the first set, but bounced back and took the next two sets by scores of 25-23 and 27-25 to take a 2-1 lead. SWOSU forced a fifth and final set by claiming the fourth set with a 25-21 margin.
But MSSU took the fifth set 15-13 to clinch the match.
Making her debut with the Lions (transferred from Mid-American Nazarene), Fernanda Canedo shined with a match-high 24 kills. Kalie Mader's younger sister, Sophie, dished out 39 assists while Hannah Allick added 19.
Abbie Casper, who's returning from injury, paced the defense with 29 digs. Canedo tallied 18 digs, while Allick came up with 16. Casper and Allick each had three aces.
Also with productive nights for MSSU in terms of kills include Irina Alekseeva (15), Amelia Neels (10), Amerika Jones (eight), Josey Goldberg (seven) and Kierson Maydew (five).
SWOSU was paced by Lacy Mott, who registered 23 kills and 21 digs. Maicee Morgan and Taryn Galt tallied 15 and 12 kills, respectively.
Terez Chavez posted a match-high 53 assists.
MSSU resumes play in its invite by facing Truman at 11 a.m. and Northwestern Oklahoma at 5 p.m. on Friday. The Lions close out play in the MSSU Invite with a matchup against William Jewell at 4 on Saturday.