February 4, 2023

Dawson County Journal

Dawson County, Nebraska

Lopers Get Off to Good Start

Kearney, Neb. – Junior outside hitter Emersen Cyza had 25 kills and 10th-ranked Nebraska-Kearney hit .371 to sweep both Minot State (-16, -10, -13) and Midwestern State (-21, -13, -17) Friday at the annual Rosella Meier Fall Classic.

This was the season-opening day in Division II volleyball. This tournament, sponsored by New Victorian Inn & Suites and Cunningham’s Journal, features six teams and 12 matches over two days. Action resumes Saturday with two 10 a.m. matches followed by single ones at 12, 2, 4 and 6 p.m.

UNK committed just nine errors in 90 swings to easily get past the MSU Beavers in the first match of the day. Cyza (Alliance) had 14 kills and hit .619 with middle Bailee Sterling (Kearney H.S.) adding 10 kills and a .294 hitting efficiency. The Lopers never trailed, got kills from eight different players and held Minot to a .051 mark.

“It went as about as well as we could’ve hoped. Played really hard and competed well but it wasn’t always perfect. We got good offensive production out of the players that we thought we would today,” said UNK head coach Rick Squiers. “Some of the people that are new to the rotation did a lot of positive things as well.”

Things were a bit tougher against the MSU Mustangs who lost in four sets to Sioux Falls in their season-opener. UNK briefly trailed four times during the match and saw MSU have 13 kills in both the first and third sets. However, the Lopers out hit the Lone Star Conference foe by nearly 200 points and got 12 kills from junior outside CeCe Beahm (Hastings St. Cecilia) and 11 more from Cyza. Sophomore right side Lauren Taubenheim (Lincoln Pius X) recorded seven kills, six digs, three blocks and two assists.

“Between the three of them they are all a little bit different. We’re playing a non-traditional rotation where Lauren ends up out there (left pin) a couple of times,” said Squiers. “CeCe has a different sort of a swing and can heat up, Emersen has a big arm and then Lauren is kind of the junk baller out there.”

Minden junior Jensen Rowse was in the libero spot and dug up 18 balls with North Platte redshirt freshman Peyton Neff the new setter. She amassed 81 assists, nine digs and four kills today with true freshmen Lexi Stephens (Ankeny, Ia.) and Jordie Nekl (Columbus) combining for 29 dings in the backrow. Finally, junior middle Fallon Stutheit (Johnson) had 14 kills and hit .590 on the day. 

UNK faces Sioux Falls (1-1) and No. 30 Central Washington (1-1) on Saturday. The USF Cougars swept Midwestern and lost to CWU in four with the No. 2 Washburn Ichabods sweeping the Wildcats in the morning. WU then swept Minot in the afternoon.

“It’s going to keep getting tougher. Sioux Falls is a little bit like us … kind of young but with some talent and weapons. Central Washington is veteran team that seemed to get into a rhythm in their second match.” Tonight’s match vs Central Washington can be heard on 93.1 KRVN FM and 106.9 FM and krvn.com.

Source: Regional Sports