FORT WAYNE, Ind. — The Omaha volleyball team showed its grit Sunday afternoon, outlasting Fort Wayne 3-2 (23-25, 28-26, 25-17, 17-25, 16-14) for a road victory at Gates Sports Center. With the win, the Mavericks remain undefeated in conference play and improve to 6-10 (3-0 Summit League), while the Mastodons drop to 8-11 (0-4).
Leaders for Omaha
Junior Abby Bergsten had her finest offensive performance of the season with 20 kills on .312 hitting and five digs. Freshman Anna Blaschko starred at the net, posting a match-high and season-best 10 blocks with nine kills.
Senior Sydney O’Shaughnessy tallied her team-leading ninth double-double of the season on 49 assists and 17 digs with four blocks, five kills and an ace.
Freshman Bella Sade also had a double-figure kill effort with 11 kills on .348 hitting while adding seven digs, two aces and a block. Sophomore Meagen Roth added nine kills and season highs of 17 digs, three blocks and two aces.
Leaders for Fort Wayne
Fort Wayne was led by a match-high 24 kills from Katie Crowe, who added 17 digs for a double-double. Nicole Rightnowar also had a double-double with 15 kills and 20 digs, and Madison Jaqua totaled a match-high 52 assists.
Fort Wayne outhit Omaha .196 to .178, but the Mavericks had the edge in blocking, 12-9.
Inside Set 1
Omaha and Fort Wayne were back and forth to open up the match, as the 12th tie of the set made it 16-16 on a Blaschko kill. Fort Wayne then went up 19-18 on a Maverick attack error, then later brought it to set point on a UNO attack error at 24-23. The set included 19 ties and 12 lead changes, and the Mastodons seized the first game, 25-23.
Inside Set 2
Set two was more of the same close play, with 18 ties and seven lead changes. After Fort Wayne went up by two, the set stalled for the 10th time at 16-all as Bergsten ripped back-to-back kills for Omaha. After a 3-0 Mastodon run, Roth roared back for a kill and block with Blaschko to lock it again at 20-20. The Mastodons then put together another 3-0 run to take a 23-21 edge, pushing Omaha to take a timeout.
Out of the break, two Mastodon errors and a Blaschko kill put it at set point at 24-23. But the score knotted three more times before the Mavericks put it away with consecutive kills from Bergsten and Sade for a 28-26 win.
Inside Set 3
Omaha hit .268 in the third set while holding Fort Wayne to a .171 team clip. The Mavericks broke through a 6-6 tie with two Roth aces and a kill from junior Mackenzie Horkey and never relinquished their lead. A 6-0 Omaha run later in the set made it 22-13, and the Mavericks finished it off with a 25-17 tally.
Inside Set 4
Fort Wayne rallied in the fourth set, building an 11-7 advantage before Omaha took its first timeout. The Mavericks’ deficit pushed to 17-9 after five consecutive Mastodon kills, including four straight from Crowe. Omaha stopped the run with a 4-0 spurt of its own, bolstered by a pair of blocks to trim it to 17-13 and force a Fort Wayne timeout. But the Mastodons never let Omaha back in under five again, taking the set at 25-17 to tie the match at 2-2.
Inside Set 5
Neither team gained more than a two-point foothold in the decisive fifth set, which saw 11 ties. At 7-7, Omaha got a Bergsten kill and an O’Shaughnessy ace to go ahead by two, but Fort Wayne immediately knotted it again with kills from Rightnowar and Sydney Boerst. Bergsten responded by pounding her 20th kill of the day, and after two more ties up to 11-11, the Mavericks used a Horkey kill and an O’Shaughnessy/Blaschko block to go up 13-11.
Out of a Mastodon timeout, Fort Wayne knotted it once more at 13-all, then got it to match point on a Maverick attack error. Omaha called for another timeout and capitalized with a Mastodon attack error and a Blaschko/O’Shaughnessy block to lead 15-14. Fort Wayne whistled for one final timeout, and Omaha finished it on the next play as an attacking miscue gave the Mavericks the win at 16-14.
Noting Today’s Match
-Bergsten’s 20 kills were the second-highest individual total of any Omaha player this season, behind only Chloe Dousette‘s 21 vs. Indiana State on Sept. 2.
-Blaschko’s 10 blocks were the most of any Maverick this season and the most since Amanda Conlin had 10 vs. Murray State on Sept. 17, 2016.
-Omaha has had five double-figure block performances as a team this year, going 3-2 in those matches.
Omaha returns to action after a short turnaround, welcoming Denver on Tuesday, Oct. 3. The match is set for 7 p.m. at Baxter Arena