The two teams fought through eight ties and three lead changes during the first set with the final deadlock happening at 19-19. The Kangaroos closed out the frame with a 6-3 run, including back-to-back points following the 19-19 tie to take the set 25-22.
Southern Utah used a five-point run in the middle of the second set to swing momentum to its side and build a 17-13 advantage. The run was capped by a Jazmine Ma'afala kill and was followed by a Analaine Pelaez kill, creating a 19-14 lead and forcing a UMKC timeout.
The home team continued to carry the advantage and a pair of kills from freshman Alissa Youart and a final UMKC attacking error gave SUU the 25-19 victory.
In the third set, Southern Utah hit negative (-.095) as the team committed 12 errors to just eight kills on 42 attempts. UMKC wasn't much better, hitting .091, but the disparity was enough to give the Kangaroos the set 25-13.
The T-Birds bounced back in the fourth set and showed guts by fighting off five UMKC match points at 24-22, 24-23, 25-24, 26-25 and 27-26. Southern Utah had started the frame with an early 5-1 lead, but UMKC answered and had a lead of its own up through a 14-14 tie.
The score was tied again at 22-22 before the Kangaroos put the T-Birds behind at match point, 24-22, with a kill and service ace. A pair of kills by Pelaez and Youart and a block by Tess Lawrence and Youart finished the three-point run for the 'Birds at the end of the set as SUU forced a final set with the 29-27 victory.
The teams battled to an 8-8 draw in the deciding set before UMKC made its move with a four-point run on a pair of T-Bird attacking errors and a pair of kills to take a 12-8 lead. The cushion was just enough as UMKC held off a late rally by Southern Utah to take the match 15-11.
Pelaez led all hitters with 21 kills and added 17 digs for her second double-double of the week. The Thunderbirds actually recorded more kills than UMKC, 59 to 54, but also committed more errors, 41 to 31, during the match. Ma'afala and Youart joined Pelaez in double figures with ten kills each as Ma'afala also tallied double-double numbers with 14 digs. Brittney Clark also recorded her second double-double of the week with 48 assists and 13 digs.
Southern Utah will be back in action next weekend when the T-Birds continue conference play, hosting South Dakota State and North Dakota State. The games will be crucial for conference seedings as NDSU is just ahead of SUU in the Summit League and SDSU just behind. Game times on Thursday and Saturday are scheduled for 7:00PM.