Kearney, Neb. – The fourth-ranked Nebraska-Kearney volleyball team hit .667 in the fifth set to close on am 8-2 run to defeat 13th-ranked Central Missouri (18-25, -21, -22, 15-25, -9) Friday night in Warrensburg, Mo.
This marks the Lopers eighth straight win over the Jennies (9-5, 3-2). UNK improves to 14-0 (5-0) and is now 10-2 in five-set matches since the start of the 2017 season.
In a match with 22 ties and nine lead changes, a kill by Grand Island senior outside Emma Benton made it 8-7 in the fifth set and UNK wouldn’t trail again. Back-to-back kills by Benton and fellow outside Julianne Jackson (Bonner Springs, Kan.) made it 10-8 and forced UCM to call its second and final timeout.
The short break didn’t help as Kearney used UCM’s 13th service error and two kills by junior middle Anna Squiers (Kearney Catholic) to zoom ahead 13-9. Jackson’s 10th and final kill of the night got UNK to set point and then an unforced Jennies error ended the 2:05 match. The Lopers didn’t hit above .237 over the first four sets but got red hot when it mattered most, having 10 kills and no errors in 15 attempts (.667 pct.) in the final stanza.
Overall UCM out hit UNK by 84 points, managed 11 more digs and 18 more kills but also was minus eight in the service game and was blocked 11 times at the net. Those 11 stuffs are a season-best effort for the Blue & Gold.
Omaha junior right side Mary Katherine Wolfe had a team-best 14 kills with Jackson at 16 digs, two solo block and seven aces in addition to her offensive output. The seven aces are just three shy of tying the school record, set in 1994 by Kelli Koch in a win over Minnesota State.
Squiers had four of UNK’s fifth set kills with Jackson, Benton and Wolfe having the other six. Squiers ended up at nine kills, six digs and four blocks with Lincoln sophomore libero Lindsay Nottlemann at a team-high 29 digs.
Leading the Jennies was freshman outside Sydney Lierz (20 kills, 14 digs, three blocks & two aces) and junior middle Audrey Fisher (13 kills, three blocks & a .520 pct.).
UNK heads to 10th-ranked NW Missouri State Saturday afternoon. The Bearcats are now 12-1 (5-0) after sweeping Fort Hays State tonight.