Omaha athletics: best games of 2019-2020


Jack Hoover

Omaha goalie Austin Roden before Omaha’s game against North Dakota. Photo by Candice Mayfield.

The 2019-2020 Omaha athletics season will likely go down in history as the year with the fewest Maverick athletic events held.

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, Omaha Hockey was still planning on going on a run in the NCHC playoffs. Omaha softball and baseball were looking to have some of the most memorable seasons in program history. And the Omaha track and field team was looking to race its way to glory in the outdoor season. All that has since gone out the window.

Despite all these cancelled games and events and moments, the 2019-2020 season shouldn’t be defined by what didn’t happen, but by what did. It’s worth remembering that what did happen this year was nothing short of amazing.

There were upsets. There were rivalry wins. There were wins that seemed program defining. There were comebacks that happened against all the odds. And there were wins that saw Omaha dominate like they’ve never dominated before. All in all, it was a good year to be a Mav.

So, looking back, here are some of the top games and moments from 2019-2020.

Men’s soccer versus Western Illinois, Nov. 14, 2019

The Omaha Mavericks and the Western Illinois Leathernecks were teams on different trajectories when they went into this game. Western Illinois had won five of their last seven games and claimed their first Summit League regular season championship since 2014. Meanwhile, Omaha was on a four game winless streak. When it came down to the win-or-go home situation provided by the Summit League tournament, however, the Mavericks showed they had what it takes to come out on top. After battling back from being down 1-2, Omaha finally pulled out an exciting win. Senior defender Pep Mateu scored an overtime golden goal winner to send the Mavericks to the Summit League championship.

Women’s Volleyball versus South Dakota Nov. 23, 2019

South Dakota’s 2019 volleyball season was nothing short of dominant. Going into their game against the Mavericks in the second round of the Summit League tournament, the Coyotes had won an unprecedented 24 straight games. Their last loss had come on Sept. 3 against Iowa State. Despite the formidable record of their opponents, the Mavericks remained unfazed. Omaha pushed South Dakota to five sets when the two teams met in Omaha during the regular season. This time around, however, the Mavericks did not even need four sets. They pulled off the win – an emphatic 3-1 victory.

Hockey versus North Dakota March 7, 2020

There were two wins from Omaha hockey over North Dakota that could have made this list. The Fighting Hawks only lost once at home all year. The Mavericks provided that loss, going up to Grand Forks and coming away with a 6-3 win. Stealing a win on the road is good, but doing it in front of your home fans can be even better. So, when the Mavericks celebrated a special night at Baxter Arena as they knocked North Dakota in a 4-1 win, it seemed like the sort of night that could reverse the fortunes of a program looking for success.

Softball versus IUPUI Feb. 22, 2020

Last year was a season of trials for the Omaha softball team. With coach Amanda Eberhart taking over for her first season in 2019, the team had a bit of a down season in the first year as they struggled to a 4-43 record. Starting slowly in 2020 might not have been an unrealistic expectation this year. However, the Mavericks shattered all these expectations right off the bat this season. They got off to an impressive record of 12-12 before the season was cancelled. One of the most impressive wins of the season was Omaha’s 17-1 thumping of Coach Eberhart’s former team: the IUPUI Jaguars. Omaha’s bats exploded against the Jaguars as they hit five homeruns and scored the most runs they’ve had in a single game since 2016.

Baseball versus Creighton March 7, 2020 

The last game that Omaha baseball played in 2020 might’ve been one of the best games they had all year. Playing their crosstown rivals, the Creighton Bluejays, the Mavericks were looking for a win in a series they hadn’t come out on top in since 2014. Led by the stellar pitching of sophomore Richie Holetz, who tossed nine strikeouts and just three hits, the Mavericks picked up a huge 8-1 win “on the road” at TD Ameritrade Park. With the season unfortunately cancelled shortly after that, the Mavericks ended up at least being the Champions of Omaha.