Kearney, Neb. – The ninth-ranked Central Oklahoma Bronchos had 16 team blocks and got a combined 30 kills from junior Taylor Bevis and freshman Haley Deschenes to sweep fifth-ranked Nebraska Kearney (-23, -22, -22) Saturday night in Edmond.
The ‘Chos (18-1, 5-0) win for a 15th straight time while the Lopers (15-2, 4-1) see a 12-match win streak come to an end.
A 5-10 outside hitter, Bevis came in as one of the nation’s kill leaders, averaging just over five per set. She reached that average tonight in a match-high 52 swings (.115) while also providing 12 digs and four blocks.
Deschenes, a six-foot outside/right side, hit a match-high .414 and recorded 15 kills in just 29 swings. UCO also got 10 blocks from both freshman Malia Kaaiohelo and senior Alexis Washington.
Due to the blocks and 49 digs, UNK was held to a season-low .099 hitting efficiency. The ‘Chos came in at .228, about 115 points higher than most Loper opponents.
Kearney still had a chance in each set as the match featured 16 ties and eight lead changes. UCO got back-to-back kills to break a 20-all tie in the first set but UNK got within 24-23 thanks to a kill by freshman Anna Squiers (Kearney Catholic). However, a Washington kill gave UCO a 1-0 match lead.
UNK held leads of 4-0, 7-3, 11-8 and 16-13 in the second set but the ‘Chos went on a 9-1 run to grab the lead back. This stretch included three kills from Bevis and three unforced Loper hitting errors. In the final set, the Lopers led 13-10 but another big UCO run, this time 10-5, changed the momentum again. The ‘Chos closed out the match with back-to-back kills.
Yutan senior outside Kaitlynn Thomas (10) was the lone Loper with a double digit kill total. She took a team-best 34 swings with fellow outside Kendall Schroer (23) and senior middle Tara Ziegelbein (22) combining for 45 attack attempts.
South Dakota junior setter Lindsey Smith handing out 32 assists, dug up five balls, had two blocks and four kills in eight swings (team-high .375 pct.). Defensively, Papillion junior libero Ellie McDonnell had 13 digs with Ziegelbein having four blocks.
UNK hosts 11th-ranked Regis University Tuesday night at 6 p.m. The Rangers (14-1), a former RMAC rival, are riding a nine-match win streak.