Kearney, Neb. – The fifth-ranked Nebraska-Kearney volleyball team hit a season-high .429 and served up seven aces to roll past Johnson & Wales in three sets (-15, -12, -6) Sunday afternoon at the Health & Sports Center. This was the Lopers regular season home finale. UNK (29-2) pushes its win streak to 14 in a row and also picks up its 52nd straight home win. The NAIA Wildcats, from Denver, end the year at 2-26. Today’s win is the 600th for Rick Squiers as UNK head coach. Taking over in the fall of 1999, he is now 600-83 (87.8 win pct.). That record includes a 333-18 mark at home (94.9 win pct.). On “Senior Day”, UNK hit over .400 for the third time this fall. Against a JWU team with only seven players, the Lopers sat four starters with senior middle Tara Ziegelbein (Lincoln Lutheran) playing in just the first set. Kearney finished with 51 kills and eight errors while also having a 54-36 dig advantage.
Senior outside Kaitlynn Thomas (Yutan) had a match-high 16 kills and hit .441 with sophomore middle Mackenzie Puckett (Grand Island) at 10 kills in 12 swings with no errors (.833 pct.). That is the fourth highest attack percentage in school history (minimum 10 kills). From the serve line, Kansas sophomore Julianne Jackson (four) and Kearney junior Morgan Stute (three) combined for seven aces. The pair also combined for 25 digs with Stute the libero over the first two sets. Graduate transfer Emma Schroer (Ogallala) was at that spot in the third set and tallied nine digs in the match. Finally, senior outside Ali Scheil (Estes Park, Colo.) had nine kills and hit .375 and senior setter Katy Ernest (Dalton) recorded 40 assists, five digs, three kills and two blocks. UNK’s sixth senior, outside Connar Newberry (McKinney, Texas), couldn’t play due to a season-ending injury suffered in October. UNK heads to NW Missouri State and Missouri Western State next weekend to end the regular season.