December 8, 2022

Dawson County Journal

Dawson County, Nebraska

Lopers Roll at Home

Kearney, Neb. – The now ninth-ranked Nebraska-Kearney volleyball team needed just an hour to sweep NAIA Friends University (-11, -10, -12) Tuesday night at the Health & Sports Center.

The Lopers improve to 5-0 while the Falcons, from Wichita, fall to 2-6. Prior to first serve, the junior varsity teams from each school played a best-of-three match.

With another tournament weekend coming up, head coach Rick Squiers subbed early and often. Seventeen Lopers took to the court with nine registering a kill, 13 having a dig and six having at least one block. UNK out hit Friends by a .279 to a negative .071 (14-20-85) margin.

“You never know who you might need in the course of a long season so that’s what this kind of match was for,” said Squiers. “You also don’t want to grind your starters for every single match.”

A very balanced attack saw Kansas sophomore outside Asha Regier have a team-best seven kills and hit .294 with Bennington veteran middle Michaela Bartels at six kills in nine swings (.667 pct.). One of three remaining players from the 2019 National Runner Up team, Bartels missed much of the past two seasons with injury.

“It was good to get Michaela out there. She did the kind of things we saw her do when she was healthy … play well in transition, she’s good at cutting the ball both ways on that quick middle attack and she’s a good blocker,” said Squiers. “Asha was able to contribute against Central Washington (last Saturday) and we’re going to continue to need her. She’s capable of being on the left or the right and she’s also trying to develop as a passer. The more you player, the better you get.”

Friends did get off to a get good start, trailing by just a 10-7 margin in the first set. However, UNK rolled from that point forward and there were no lead chances or ties in the final two sets. Middle Sarah Lazar (seven kills, five blocks and four digs) scored the majority of the Falcons points.

Defensively for the Lopers, Minden junior libero Jensen Rowse had a team-high 10 digs with Henderson sophomore setter Rhianna Wilhelm supplying eight. At the net, both Bartels and Hastings junior outside CeCe Beahm had two blocks. Finally, Kearney served up 10 aces with Columbus freshman Jordie Nekl one three players with two.

UNK leaves Wednesday for Owensboro, Ky., and the 13-team Kentucky Wesleyan Invite. The Lopers face Shorter (Ga.) and Kentucky State on Friday and Lincoln Memorial (Tenn.) and St. Anselm (N.H). on Saturday.

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Source: Regional Sports