Loper volleyball cruises in first round of MIAA tournament

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KANSAS CITY, Mo (KSNB) - The second-ranked Nebraska-Kearney volleyball team hit .306 and got big performances from true freshman Michaela Bartels and Kamryn Schuler to sweep Missouri Southern State (-11, -14, -15) in an MIAA Tournament first round match Thursday in Kansas City.

The top-seeded Lopers (31-0) advance to Friday's quarterfinals where they'll face the winner of tonight's late match, Northwest Missouri State and Missouri Western State, at 5 p.m.

To sweep the Lions (13-18) for the third time this fall, UNK scored the first four points of the match and the closed the night on a 13-3 run. Overall the Lopers out hit MSSU by over 250 points, served up six aces and had 22 more digs.

Bartels (Bennington) had one of her best matches of the season, tallying 15 kills in 23 attempts (.652 pct.) with no errors. This marked her fourth double digit kill total of the fall with her effort falling a kill shy of her season-high (16, vs. NW Missouri, 11/1/19). The second-team All-MIAA middle also had three blocks. Kam Schuler

From the outside Schuler started the night with a kill and finished up with 10 in 31 swings (.293). UNK got off to a tough start in the third set, trailing 5-1, 9-2 and 10-8 before tying things up at 12. A 6-0 spurt featured four kills, three by Schuler

That big run also featured back-to-back aces from junior setter Madison Squiers (Kearney Catholic) who had 44 assists, 20 digs and three kills in five attempts. Finally sophomore libero Lindsay Nottlemann (Lincoln Pius X) had 27 digs with MIAA Co-Player of the Year Julianne Jackson (Bonner Springs, Kan.) providing 16 digs, nine kills and two aces in her return home.

Mo Southern was paced by Janelle Brehm with 17 digs and 10 kills.