Lopers hungry for deep postseason run

By  | 

KEARNEY, Neb. (KSNB) - The Nebraska-Kearney volleyball team began workouts for the upcoming 2019 season with its first practice of fall camp on Monday, August 19.

UNK volleyball begins 2019 season

With a roster of 24, UNK will practice twice daily this week before school starts next Monday. The Lopers head to Colorado tomorrow afternoon for an off-site retreat before facing Division I Wyoming in a scrimmage Saturday night. That match will take place at Cheyenne East High School with first serve set for 7:30 p.m. Central. That can be heard live on The River 93.1 FM.

Kearney will also hold an intraquad scrimmage on Wednesday, August 28, at 6 p.m. in the Health & Sports Center. That'll be the first chance for fans to see the new TaraFlex Court which is being put into place this week.

Head coach Rick Squiers, 637-88 in his Loper tenure, must replace All-American libero Ellie McDonnell, starting setter Lindsey Smith, outside hitter Kendall Schroer (1,220 career kills) and defensive specialist Morgan Stute (1,401 career digs). This foursome helped guide UNK to a 33-3 mark in 2018, winning both the MIAA regular season and tournament titles. The team also reached the NCAA Tournament for an unprecedented 20th straight fall.

The returning 2018 All-MIAA selections are senior outside Julianne Jackson (Bonner Springs, Kan.), junior middle Anna Squiers (Kearney Catholic) and junior right side Mary Katherine Wolfe (Omaha Marian). Among the other returnees are senior middles Josie Cox (North Platte) and Mackenzie Puckett (Grand Island), senior outside Emma Benton (G.I. Central Catholic) and sophomore Lindsey Nottlemann (Lincoln Pius), who is expected to be one of the Lopers to replace McDonnell (school-record 2,391 digs) and Stute in the back row.

Redshirt freshman outside hitters Sami Mauch (North Platte) and Bailee Sterling (Kearney H.S.) will take to the courts as Lopers for the first time this fall as will junior co-captain Madi Squiers (Kearney H.S.). The setter sat out last fall as a redshirt after starring at NAIA Bellevue University for two seasons.

Among the 10 newcomers are back row players Sarah Brittain (Wichita) and Danae Drish (Fairfield, Ia.) and Nebraska Coaches Association All-Star match participants Michaela Bartels (Bennington) and Kamryn Schuller (Gretna).

UNK has back-to-back home tournaments to start the regular season with its first road match not coming until Friday, September 21, at Emporia State.