Squiers reaches win 950, Lopers a perfect 7-0 to start season

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KEARNEY, Neb. (KSNB) - The eighth-ranked Nebraska-Kearney volleyball team was efficient on offense and played its usual stingy defense to sweep the Mary Marauders (-14, -17, -18) and Arkansas Tech Golden Suns (-16, -10, -13) Friday at the Health & Sports Center.

The matches were part of the of the two-day Rosella Meier Fall Classic presented by Runza and New Victorian Inn & Suites. There will be five matches tomorrow starting at 10 a.m.

UNK (7-0) got past UM (1-5) in the morning as hit .hit .330 and serve up seven aces. Six Lopers were between four and nine kills led by senior outside Julianne Jackson (Bonner Springs, Kan.). She reached her nine kills in just 18 attempts (.444 pct.) while also providing five digs and a block.

Mary recorded 23 kills and 21 errors to hit only .018. UNK got a team-high 13 digs from sophomore libero Lindsay Nottlemann (Lincoln Pius) with junior back row mate Monique Schafer (Stuart) adding 12 more. Finally, freshman middle Michaela Bartels (Bennington) had four blocks.

Arkansas Tech (1-5) provided a challenge in the form of redshirt sophomore outside Anyse Smith. The Texan made the 2018 PAC-12 Conference All-Freshman team after having 293 kills (2.82 per set) and hitting .267 for the Colorado Buffaloes.

"You don't see many players like that at this level. We got some blocks, scored some points. The game plan going in is try and not let her get going too much and have one of those 25 or 30 kill night that she's capable of," UNK head coach Rick Squiers said. "She's a heck of a player and I think they'll win a lot of matches this year."

Among the most athletic players to face UNK in recent times, the high flying Smith sent plenty of missiles among her 42 attempts. The Lopers dug up a majority of them and even recorded a couple of blocks on Smith. She finished with 13 kills and nine errors for a .095 efficiency.

"Sometimes the difference between winning and losing is how long you can be fundamentally sound. We were in system a lot, gave Maddie a lot of options and she did a good job of moving the ball around," Squiers said. "Very steady, consistent … the kind of performance that's encouraging at this stage of the game."

Trailing only once in the match, UNK out hit the Golden Suns by nearly 200 points with Jackson (12 kills; .379 pct.) and junior middle Anna Squiers (10 kills; .500 pct.) leading the way. Nottlemann (16) led in digs again with four Lopers at two blocks apiece.

With the wins over Mary and Ark Tech, Squiers is now 951-181 in his volleyball coaching career that also includes stops at Hastings College, Seward (Kan.) C.C. and Remsen St. Mary (IA) High School. He is 644-88 in his Loper tenure including a 359-20 mark in home matches.

UNK faces New Mexico Highlands (1-5) and No. 17 Rockhurst (4-2) on Saturday