Kearney, Neb. – The eighth-ranked Nebraska-Kearney volleyball team had eight kills and two aces in the fifth set to get past Cal State San Marcos (22-25, -15, -19, 22-15, -8) Saturday night in California.
Earlier in the day, the Lopers swept Cal State Dominguez Hills (-11, -12, -19) to finish 4-0 in the “Cougar Classic.” Sixth-ranked Lewis (Ill.) University didn’t drop a set on the weekend to also go 4-0.
Representing UNK on the all-tournament team were senior libero Ellie McDonnell (Papillion-LaVista), senior setter Lindsey Smith (Dakota Dunes, S.D.) and sophomore right side Mary Katherine Wolfe (Omaha Marian). McDonnell had 69 digs (4.31 per set avg.), six aces and five assists on the weekend with Smith coming in at 10.1 assists, 2.4 digs and 0.9 kills per set while hitting .314. She also served up nine aces. Finally, Wolfe hit .430 en route to 40 kills (2.50 per set avg.).
Against the host CSUSM Cougars (2-2), UNK hit just .190 but served up 13 aces and had 98 digs to stave off the upset bid. The Lopers never trailed in the final set as they scored the first four points, three via kills. San Marcos did cut the deficit to 6-4 but a kill from sophomore middle Anna Squiers (Kearney Catholic) and a Wolfe ace got the lead back to four and the Cougars didn’t get closer than three points the rest of the way.
Outside hitters Kendall Schroer (Ogallala) and Julianne Jackson (Bonner Springs, Kan.) had 17 kills apiece to power the offense. Jackson hit .250 while also having a career-high 26 digs, two aces, two assists and a block. Schroer had a team-high 61 swings and managed two blocks at the net.
Next, Smith (four) was one of four Lopers with at least two aces with junior middle Mackenzie Puckett (Grand Island) coming off the bench to provide eight kills, four blocks and a .538 hitting percentage.
San Marcos was led by senior middle Faith Fortune (nine kills and nine blocks), sophomore libero Grecia Cordero-Barr (30 digs) and sophomore outside Micah Herbert (12 kills). As a team, the Cougs hit .145 and had 13.0 blocks.
Things were much easier against a Dominguez Hills squad that is now 1-2 on the young season. UNK had 9.0 team blocks, four aces and hit .262 (38-10-107). A balanced attack was led by Squiers (nine kills, five blocks, .412 pct.), Wolfe (seven kills, three blocks, .462 pct.) and North Platte sophomore middle Josie Cox (seven kills, four blocks, .778 pct.). Finally, Jackson and McDonnell combined for 30 digs.
UNK hosts its annual Fall Classic next weekend in the Health & Sports Center. The Lopers will play at noon and 6 p.m. on both Friday and Saturday.