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Kearney, Neb. – Ten different players registered a kill to help third-ranked Nebraska-Kearney sweep Fort Hays State (-18, -14, -11) Tuesday night at the Health & Sports Center. A crowd of 995 watched the Lopers (16-0, 5-0) improve to 92-9 all-time against the rival Tigers (6-10, 3-5). This also was the start of a three-match home stand. There were 10 ties and four lead changes with nearly all of that coming in the first set. The set was tied at five, six, seven, eight and nine before a kill by junior right side MK Wolfe (Omaha Marian). That was the start of a 7-0 run that featured some strong serving by senior outside Emma Benton (G.I. Central Catholic). “I was concerned all week. You’re really happy that you were able to win two matches over the weekend but it’s a different dynamic coming in here and playing Fort Hays State. A team that you’re supposed to beat, a match you need to win,” Loper head coach Rick Squiers said. “They have some weapons and are more potent than they were last year. If they get a little run there in the first and get all fired up then all of a sudden we’re out here in a tough one.” UNK didn’t trail the rest of the night and ended up hitting a solid .315 (36-8-89). The Lopers also had four team blocks and had three aces. Hays came in at .083 (30-22-96) and didn’t register an ace but had three service miscues. “We were able to get some separation in the first set and then played cleaner as the match went on,” Squiers said.
Senior outside Julianne Jackson (Bonner Springs, Kan.) paced UNK with seven kills, four digs and a .357 hitting efficiency with Kearney junior middle Anna Squiers at five kills and a team-best .417 attack percentage. Next, North Platte redshirt freshman Sami Mauch tallied five kills and no errors in 18 swings while Stuart junior defensive specialist Mo Schafer had five digs. Finally, Wolfe ended up with six kills, five digs and two blocks. Hays saw three different players reach seven kills including Lincoln native Delaney Humm. The Lopers host Missouri Western State (9-5, 3-3) this Friday at 6 p.m. Fifth-ranked Washburn then visits next Tuesday.