JOPLIN, Mo. - Monica Miesner led the Lady Blues with 20 kills and 19 digs as No. 5 Washburn defeated Missouri Southern, 3-1 (30-28, 30-17, 27-30, 30-27) Saturday to clinch the top spot in the MIAA West Division. The Lady Blues (32-1, 12-0 MIAA) will play two more regular season matches next week, starting with the conference finale at Emporia State at 7 p.m. Tuesday.
The Lady Blues won a close opening game and then took the second game easily. The Lions took the third game to force a fourth.
With the Lady Blues down 18-8 in the fourth game, Miesner stepped up and set down three straight kills to begin an 8-0 run in which she contributed five total kills.
The Lions responded and went up, 24-20 before Washburn went on a 9-1 run to take the lead and force match point. MSSU answered with two straight points but then an attack error gave the Lady Blues the win to extend their winning streak to 27 straight matches.
Miesner hit .366 and teammate Tessa Jones reached 20 kills for the third time this week with a match-high 22 to go along with 12 digs and a .362 attack percentage. Caitlin Conley came off the bench to record nine kills.
Kate Hampson had 62 assists and 15 digs for a double-double while libero Erica Cowhick had 16 digs. Stephanie Nitz led the team above the net with four blocks and she added eight kills.
With the No. 1 seed in the West, the Lady Blues will host the No. 4 seed from the East Division on November 6 in Lee Arena in the opening round of the MIAA tournament. The semifinals and final will be hosted by the highest seeded team from the East to advance.