Kearney, Neb. – Sophomore right side MK Wolfe had a season-high 17 kills to help No. 1 Nebraska-Kearney get past Emporia State in four sets (25-27, -12, -22, -15) Friday night in Kansas.
This was the MIAA opener for both. UNK improves to 13-0 while the Hornets drop to 5-8. Kearney was a bit shorthanded as starting middle Anna Squiers (Kearney Catholic) was out with injury. It’s expected she’ll miss the next few matches.
Emporia recently upset Top 10 Rockhurst (Mo.), 3-2, and managed to rally from a 21-14 hole to take the first set by two points. The Hornets hit .205 (15-6-44) but wouldn’t come close to those numbers the rest of the night.
UNK quickly bounced back by hitting .351 (15-2-37) in the second set to tie things up. Sophomore middle Josie Cox (North Platte), replacing Squiers in the starting lineup, had five kills in six swings with Wolfe (Omaha Marian) providing four more kills.
The match was decided in the third set as it featured seven ties and three lead changes. UNK was down 21-18 but finished on a 7-1 run to completely change the momentum. The key spurt featured two kills by Wolfe, a rare solo block by Ogallala senior outside Kendall Schroer and four unforced Emporia errors.
The Lopers never trailed in the fourth set and they finished the night hitting 107 points higher, .190-.083, than the Hornets. UNK also had six more dig and was plus six in the serve game.
Wolfe reached her kill total in 31 swings and committed only two errors (.484); she came into the week ranked first in the MIAA in attack percentage (.418). She also had 21 digs and two blocks on defense. Next, Kansas junior outside Julianne Jackson was hot early and tallied 13 kills, 22 digs and four blocks. Cox hit .312 and finished with three blocks, two digs and seven kills with Schroer at five kills and two blocks. Finally, Papillion senior libero Ellie McDonnell dug up a team-high 26 balls.
Emporia also had a balanced attack as seven players had between four and 13 kills. Junior Taylor Otting had the 13 while also having a match-high 28 digs and two blocks. UNK is at Washburn on Saturday afternoon. The unranked Ichabods swept Fort Hays State tonight.