By Paul Freelend
Head Coach Rose Shires’ volleyball team earned its second win over a ranked North Central Conference opponent as UNO split weekend matches against Augustana and Minnesota State-Mankato.
Three Maverick players registered double-digit kills in UNO’s 30-25, 30-27 and 30-23 sweep over No. 18 Augustana Friday. The Mavs and Minnesota-Mankato played in front of 721 fans at UNO’s Sapp Fieldhouse Saturday, a season high for a home game, as MSM swept UNO 30-21, 30-26 and 30-14.
Jewelia Grennan led the Maverick attack against Augustana with 14 kills, but it was UNO’s defensive efforts that were on full display. The 18th-ranked Vikings were held to a .098 hitting percentage on the night as the Mavs’ defense dug 87 balls. Grennan and Heather VanAckeren each had 20 digs for UNO. Kylie Lebeda had 18 digs and Jenny Rankin had 13 digs.
Alyssa Matthes had 11 kills for the Mavericks. Rankin had 10 kills and Ashley Freeman had nine kills. Lebeda led UNO’s distribution with 44 set assists and Teresa Stevens had two ace serves.
Just as the combination of errors and the Mavericks’ defense dulled Augustana’s attack, errors and No. 23 Minnesota-Mankato’s defense slowed UNO’s attack in its Saturday match. MSM recorded eight total team blocks in its sweep of UNO.
Saturday’s crowd of 721 was the largest of the season at the Sapp Fieldhouse and the second largest crowd overall, second only to the 8,627 fans who saw the Mavs play University of Nebraska at Kearney in the Nebraska Volleyball Classic. The crowd saw UNO’s 35 team kills on the night nearly cancelled out by the team’s 27 attack errors. In contrast, MSM had just 14 hitting errors on the night as they hit for .283 in the match, including over .300 in two of the three sets.
Chelsea Miller led UNO’s attack with 10 kills while Freeman and Rankin each added six kills. Grennan had 12 digs, VanAckeren had nine digs and both Rankin and Lebeda each had six digs.
With the weekend split, the Mavericks moved to 13-14 (3-9 NCC). Augustana fell to 16-11 (7-5) with its loss while MSM improved to 21-4 (9-4).
UNO will take to the road to play at North Dakota State (18-10, 5-7) Thursday before returning home Saturday for the team’s final home match of the season against St. Cloud State (3-19, 0-13). The match is scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. in the Sapp Fieldhouse.