by Ed Beach
The Drury Panthers suffered another heart-breaking loss and for the fourth time in five games lost in five sets as Missouri Southern State outlasted the Panthers 3-2 on Tuesday night in Joplin.
Drury dropped to 1-4, and all four of their losses have come in five sets. For the second time this year, the fifth set went beyond 15 points as the Lions took the match with an 18-16 win in the decisive set. Missouri Southern improved to 4-1 with the victory.
The Panthers dominated early winning the opening frame 25-13 but lost by 10 in the second set, 25-15. Drury took the lead winning the third 25-21 but could not climb out of a seven-point hole in the fourth set as Missouri Southern pushed the match to five sets winning 25-22.
Drury fought off three match-points, and the fifth set was even four times in the late-going: 13-13, 14-14, 15-15, and 16-16. The Lions got a pair of blocks on the final two points to close out the match.
Makina Wratten led Drury with 15 kills, 5.5 blocks, and two service aces. Reba Thomsen had 45 assists and 16 digs while Paige Perry added 19 digs.
Janelle Brehm led the Lions with 25 kills and 16 digs.