By Dustin Semore
FHU Sports Information Director
A long road trip for the Freed-Hardeman University Lady Lions got off to a good start with the girls in maroon picking up a victory over the Shawnee State (Ohio) University Bears. FHU racked up 50 kills in the 3-1 (25-15, 25-15, 18-25, 25-23) win.
A quick start for the Lady Lions (11-8, 3-4 MSC) saw them rally for four unanswered points to start the match. Shawnee State would close the gap, eventually seeing a service ace pull the home team within one point at 13-12, but FHU put the set out of reach by going on an 8-1 run to take the first set 25-15.
The second frame proved to be a repeat of the first, with Shawnee State (8-9, 3-4 MSC) falling prey to a hot start from FHU, who opened the set with a 7-2 advantage. The Bears and Lady Lions would trade sides out for the next 15 points, setting the score at 15-10. A trio of late kills from Jayden Watkins boosted FHU to win the second set 25-15.
Shawnee State avoided a sweep by out-killing Freed-Hardeman in the third set 14-8 before an attack error gave the set to the Bears 25-18.
Hoping to avoid a third straight Mid-South Conference matchup to reach the maximum number of sets, the Lady Lions had to fight to overcome a 9-4 SSU advantage early in the set. FHU could not overtake the Bears in the set, evening the score on nine different occasions in the fourth set. The Lady Lions did not claim the lead until sitting on match point at 24-23. Avery Young proved to have the game-winner, stuffing the last Bear attempt to give FHU the 25-23 win.
Watkins led FHU’s offense, tallying 17 kills, with Kacey Donegan posting a double-double with 15 kills and 14 digs. Bryce Morris headlined the back row, pulling up a team-high 22 digs. Adleigh Mayes posted 21 assists, while Young, Catherine Hackett, and Ann Elise Jackson chipped in with two blocks each.