KEARNEY, Neb. (KSNB) - The second-ranked Nebraska-Kearney volleyball team finishes up the 2019 regular season this weekend with home matches against Missouri Southern State and Pittsburg State.
UNK players huddle up on the court before starting their match against Northwest Missouri State.
The Lopers (28-0, 18-0) face the MSSU Lions (13-15, 6-12) Friday at six and the PSU Gorillas (13-14, 8-10) Saturday at 5 p.m. The match Saturday directly follows the football game against Washburn. Check the volleyball schedule page for media links.
Prior to Saturday UNK will honor the 2019 senior class of outside hitters Emma Benton (G.I. Central Catholic) and Julianne Jackson (Bonner Springs, Kan.) and middle blockers Josie Cox (North Platte) and Mackenzie Puckett (Grand Island). To date the Lopers have gone 129-9 the past four years, winning four MIAA regular season titles and three MIAA Tourney crowns and pushing the program's NCAA Tournament streak to 20 straight seasons.
Earlier this year UNK dispatched of MSSU (-19, 25, -15) and Pitt (-24, -16, -20) in a pair of tight sweeps. The Lopers out hit the Lions by 125 points while getting 14 kills in 24 swings from junior middle Anna Squiers (Kearney Catholic) to get past the Gorillas. UNK is now 37-3 all-time against the Gorillas and 33-8 vs. the Lions.
Looking to win a 19th straight home match, UNK's current dig per set average of 20.54 would rank second best in school history. The 2012 Lopers came in at 21.16 over 38 matches. The Loper per set mark ranks third in NCAA Division II with the current individual leaders being sophomore libero Lindsay Nottlemann (5.2), Jackson (3.6), junior setter Madison Squiers (3.1), and junior right side Mary Katherine Wolfe (3.0).
The offense is humming along as well, out hitting the opposition by 152 points on a nightly basis while ranking first or second in the MIAA in most categories. Not surprisingly Squiers leads the league in assists per set (11.1)
The pairings for the eight-team MIAA Tournament will be announced Saturday night but the Lopers likely first round opponent being Missouri Southern Thursday night, November 21, in Kansas City.
2019 MIAA Volleyball Championship Schedule
Quarterfinals - Thursday, November 21
Match One - Seed No. 2 vs. Seed No. 7 - 12 p.m.
Match Two - Seed No. 3 vs. Seed No. 6 - 2:30 p.m.
Match Three - Seed No. 1 vs. Seed 8 - 5 p.m.
Match Four - Seed No. 4 vs. Seed No. 5 - 7:30 p.m.
Semifinals - Friday, November 22
Match Five - Winner Match 3 vs. Winner Match 4 - 5 p.m.
Match Six - Winner Match 1 vs. Winner Match 2 - 7:30 p.m.
Championship - Saturday, November 23
Match Seven - Winner Match 5 vs. Winner 6 - 6 p.m.