Dominant performance by Lopers over Bronchos
KEARNEY --- The fifth-ranked Nebraska-Kearney volleyball team got off to fast starts in each set and used a balanced attack to sweep 11th-ranked Central Oklahoma (-16, -21, -17) Saturday night at the Health & Sports Center.
A season-high crowd of 2,063 watched this Top 25 showdown between the Lopers (28-2, 15-1) and Bronchos (26-4, 13-3). With the win, UNK avenges an earlier loss to UCO and remains one game ahead of Missouri Western State (20-9, 14-2) in the MIAA standings.
"Our staff must've talked about that five times in pregame. We really needed something good to happen for us early. Especially in here with a big crowd. Not only for us to feel good but to put a little squeeze on them," said Squiers. "It looked like the Health & Sports Center was going to be rocking and a tough place to play. To get a play or two early was huge and we did that in every set. That kind of wore on them."
UNK out hit UCO by nearly 200 points, .215 to .058, as four players had between nine and 10 kills. The Lopers jumped on the 'Close early and often, leading the first set 5-0, the second set 3-0 and the final set 2-0.
"This was the one they really wanted to play and the other one (Pittsburg State,Friday) was the one they had to play. It showed yesterday and today," said Loper head coach Rick Squiers. "You worry as a coach, after last night, geez if we play like that it's going to be tough. But they don't think like that. They just worry about the one they care about."
Kearney stormed out of the gates, hitting .289 (15-4-38) in the first set to grab leads of 9-2, 16-10 and 20-12. In this set, outside hitters Julianne Jackson (Bonner Springs, Kan.) and Kendall Schroer (Ogallala) both had four kills with freshman right side Anna Squiers (Kearney Catholic) having three in four swings.
"Anna went on a nice run and made a few of those gym-rat kind of plays. She was in the right place at the right time," said Squiers. "It's good she's becoming confident enough to step up and do that kind of stuff. She wouldn't have done that earlier in the year."
UNK hosts NAIA Johnson & Wales Sunday afternoon.