Kearney, Neb. – The ninth-ranked Nebraska Kearney volleyball team strode past Lincoln Memorial (-12, -14, -14) and fought off St. Anselm (-8, -23, -23) Saturday afternoon in Owensboro, Ky. The Lopers went 4-0 in the Kentucky Wesleyan Invite to improve to 9-0 on the young season.
UNK had a record setting effort in the morning against the LMU Railsplitters (1-6) as they hit .487, the sixth highest attack percentage in school history. The Lopers had 47 kills in 78 attempts with just nine errors. Middle Fallon Stutheit (Johnson) had nine kills and hit .750, outside Emersen Cyza (Alliance) was close behind with eight kills and a .700 efficiency with middle Bailee Sterling (Kearney) at eight kills and coming in at .462. Next, right side Lauren Taubenheim (Lincoln Pius) had a match-high 12 kills and a .952 serve receive percentage. Finally, Sterling had three blocks as the ‘Splitters hit only .114.
Things were tougher against St. Anselm College of New Hampshire (7-2). The Lopers had 12 kills and out hit the Hawks .478 to negative .214 to dominate the first set but had to make late plays to win the second and third, respectively. Those sets featured a combined 18 ties and six lead changes.
In the second, UNK erased a 22-21 hole thanks to a Stutheit kill and ace by Sterling. While SAC tied things up at 23, the Lopers went up 2-0 on the scoreboard thanks to an unforced attack error and another Stutheit kill. An ace from freshman Lexie Stephens (Ankeny, Ia.) made it 23-21 UNK in the third set but an SAC kill tightened things up. The Blue & Gold closed out the match thanks to a Sterling kill and unforced attack error.
Having seven aces and hitting .265, UNK got 11 kills from Stutheit and 10 from Sterling. Both Stephens and Sterling had two aces apiece with libero Jensen Rowse (Minden) digging up 17 balls. The Hawks got a combined 22 kills from Gabby Belcher and Kaitlin Brown.
UNK begins MIAA play next weekend with road matches at Emporia State (1-6) and No. 2 Washburn (8-0).
Source: Regional Sports