Omaha volleyball splits season series with Kansas City as Fairbanks has career night

Fairbanks goes for the ball. Photo courtesy Mark Kuhlmann/Omaha Athletics

The Omaha Mavericks remain atop the Summit League standings after Senior Rachel Fairbanks’ career night on Thursday propelled them to a 3-1 victory over Kansas City. After the Mavericks suffered their second home conference loss Saturday, they were able to bounce back with a convincing win over now-fourth-place Kansas City.

With only three regular-season games left in her senior year, Fairbanks delivered for one of the Mavericks’ biggest games of the season. Her 20 kills and 23 digs helped prevent the fall of the  Mavericks into fifth place with postseason play right around the corner. This performance marked the first time a Maverick has posted 20 kills and 20 digs in a single match since sophomore Shayla McCormick during the 2022 season.

Freshman Kali Jurgensmeir was good for 10 kills in her first time on the court in nearly two months. McCormick and Fairbanks’ dominant offense in the first set gave way to a strong 25-17 win. Kansas City evened up the score with a close second-set victory, despite the Mavericks’ 19-13 lead. It would be the last time they were able to edge out the Mavericks in a set for the remainder of the regular season.

The Mavericks and the Roos went back and forth in the third set until the Mavericks pulled away towards the end. A kill from junior Millard North grad McKenna Ruch gave way to a Kansas City error that concluded the third set, which foreshadowed the end of the match.

A barnburner of a fourth set resulted in a 28-26 Mavericks victory, which put the regular season series to bed. Kansas City led for most of the fourth set, but a kill from McCormick shifted momentum. After finding themselves down 21-17, the Mavericks used this momentum shift to tie up the set at 23-23. Another back and forth at the end of the set concluded with another Kansas City error, finally ending the long set.

Omaha travels to St. Paul to take on St. Thomas on Nov. 4. This precedes what is arguably the biggest game of the season as they will travel to Denver to take on the Pioneers who have a share of first place with the Mavericks. Omaha returns home to face South Dakota State for the final match before the Summit League Championship in Vermillion, S.D.