In a match that featured several ties and lead changes, unforced errors led to the Truman volleyball team’s downfall.

Five missed serves for the Patriots proved to be the difference as Truman dropped a Suburban Large Seven home contest in three sets to St. Joseph Central Thursday.

After losing the first set 27-25, the Patriots bounced back for 25-20 win in the second but dropped the third 25-23 to drop to 1-3.

“We made too many mistakes,” Truman coach David Gardner said. “You can’t miss five serves in one set. There’s no way you’re going to win a tight match when you give away five points.”

The Indians led by as many as three at 19-16, which prompted Gardner to call a timeout. Truman rallied late and eventually took its first lead since a 6-5 margin earlier in the set. Senior outside hitter Marlee Guenther slammed down a kill of a quick set to put the Patriots ahead 25-24. But Truman struggled to keep the ball inbounds after that as three straight hits out of bounds gave Central the first-set win.

The Patriots and Indians traded the lead four times in the second set, but the Patriots were powered by the striking ability of Guenther, junior rightside hitter Laila Tatum and sophomore middle hitter Ulberg, who also had some key blocks and aces.

The game was tied at 18-all until Tatum’s kill put the Patriots up for good. Guenther closed the set with a cross-court kill into an empty spot to send the match into a winner-take-all third set.

The Indians led for most of the third, but Truman managed to battle back and take an 22-20 lead after a pair of aces from sophomore outside hitter Gabby Kurle.

But some unforced errors and two kills from Central’s Sydney Sample prevented Truman from picking up a conference win.

“With how tight the game was, it got into our heads,” Ulberg said. “There was a little miscommunication out there. It just takes practice.”

Despite the loss, the Patriots had some positives to take away. One of those was the play of Guenther and Ulberg, who combined for 23 kills. They led the Patriots’ offense and consistently put pressure on the Central defense.

“Those are my two strongest hitters,” Gardner said. “They’re both talented players.”

Junior middle hitter Kylie Gharst, who had a kill and an assist, agreed.

“Those two really get the crowd riled up,” she said. “I love screaming at them and getting the fire going. They play well a lot.”

Truman also has shown improvement since last season. The Patriots didn’t win a single set against the Indians last season when they finished 5-26-2. This time, Truman was close to a victory.

“We fought so hard. We’ve been trying to push our limits,” Gharst said. “We have improved so much as a squad since last year. We were just two to three points off. We feel like we can get there.”