Kearney, Neb. – The third-ranked Nebraska-Kearney volleyball team hit .367 and had 55 digs to roll past Fort Hays State (-14, -15, -19) Tuesday night in Kansas. The Lopers improve to 20-0 (6-0) and remain in sole possession of first place in the MIAA standings. The Tigers, meanwhile, while to 15-4 (3-3). UNK came into the week ranked second in NCAA Division II in hitting efficiency at .327. They more than lived up to that billing as they pounded home 33 kills while coming just three errors over the first two sets tonight (.429). The Lopers trailed just once in these sets as Hays mustered 22 kills and 12 errors.
While they were 15 ties and six lead changes in the third set, UNK closed the match on an 8-1 run that featured two kills from sophomore outside Kendall Schroer (Ogallala) and three straight unforced Tiger errors. Overall, UNK ended with 48 kills and eight errors in 109 attempts. Hays hit .167, having 34 kills and 19 errors. A balanced Kearney attack saw five players between seven and 11 kills. Junior middle Tara Ziegelbein (Lincoln Lutheran H.S.) had a team-high 11 and hit .455 while blocking three balls at the net. Next, junior outside Kaitlynn Thomas (Yutan) had 10 kills and hit .529 with senior right side Annie Wolfe (Omaha Marian H.S.) at 12 digs, nine kills, three blocks and three assists. In the back row, sophomores Ellie McDonnell (17) and Morgan Stute (11) combined for 28 digs. The Tigers saw senior outside Crystal Whitten have 11 kills and eight digs. The Blue & Gold remain on the road this weekend, visiting No. 17 Washburn Friday night in Topeka.