The Tigers came out on top, but it was the fans in attendance who were the real winners on the night.

MANHATTAN, Kan. — The Central Christian College and Manhattan Christian College volleyball teams played five exciting sets of volleyball in MCC’s brand new gymnasium on Tuesday night. The Tigers came out on top, but it was the fans in attendance who were the real winners on the night.

The match opened with the Thunder racing out to a 7-1 lead, forcing the Tigers to call an early timeout. The Tigers regrouped, battled back, and eventually took the lead at 14-13. The Thunder would respond by retaking the lead 17-16, and from there they went on another 7-1 run to expand the lead to 24-17. Facing seven set points, the Tigers refused to go down without a fight, and they rallied to win the next 7 points to close the gap to 23-24. Unfortunately, the rally stalled there, and the Thunder took set one, 25-23.

The Tigers bounced back in the second set and jumped out early, taking a 15-8 lead. From there they put it on cruise control and closed out the set 25-15 to even the match at one set a piece. In the third set points were even until late in the set. Neither team was able to gain more than a two point advantage until leading 18-16, the Tigers closed out the set by winning seven of the final 12 points to win the set 25-21.

The fourth set was the most thrilling and provided the most drama. The first part of the set was back and forth and after 30 points, the set was all knotted up at 15. From there, like in set one, the Thunder went on a 7-1 run to open up a 22-16 lead, but once again the Tigers chose to fight back. The Thunder reached set point at 24-21, but the Tigers rallied, and tied the game at 24. The Tigers couldn’t find a way to reach match point, and the Thunder eventually prevailed in the set 27-25 to force a deciding fifth set.

The fourth set was extremely emotional for both teams, and the Thunder had regained momentum in the match by taking the set. However, the Tiger coaches did a great job of reminding the team that everything was all right and to keep their heads in the game. It worked, and the Tigers responded by reaching the midway point of the set with a two point lead, 8-6, as the teams switched ends of the floor. That two point lead, quickly became a four point lead, and the Tigers rode out the set to a 15-10 victory to close out the match 3-2.

It was a good hitting night for the Tigers. They finished the match with a .175 hitting percentage, racking up 61 kills on 189 swings with 28 errors. Three Tigers recorded double digit kill totals, led by Morgan Cook who had 15. Kasi Kraus and Rebekah Glessner, also had double digit kills, each with 14. On the defensive end of the floor, the Tigers recorded 98 defensive digs led by Desiree Padilla who notched 24.

Central head coach, Jeremy Manning, commented on the match saying, “The girls fought hard tonight, coming back from multiple deficits the entire match with some going our way and others not. In crucial situations and with game point on the line the girls continued to battle at the net and on defense. Offensively we were able to find open spots on the floor often. Defensively we made some key blocks and kept the ball off the floor by digging almost everything that came our way. We are looking to take this momentum into this weekend’s Sooner Conference matches.”

With the win, the Tigers are now 5-12 on the season. They will take the court again on Friday with a SAC matchup against Wayland Baptist University.