Kearney, Neb. – Senior outside hitter Kendall Schroer had 14 kills and senior libero Ellie McDonnell had 20 digs to help sixth-ranked Nebraska-Kearney sweep Fort Hays State (-18, -15, -14) Tuesday night at the Health & Sports Center.
This was the start of a three-match home stand for the Lopers (14-1, 2-1). Bouncing back from its first loss of the year, UNK has now won 60 home matches in a row. The school record of 66 was set between 2002-2005.
UNK out hit a young Tiger (6-9, 0-3) squad by almost 200 points en route to a 45-29 kill advantage. Trailing only briefly on a couple of occasions, the Lopers were also plus three in the serve game.
“It was kind of one of those matches where they don’t have a whole lot to lose. They are on the road and they are going to swing away,” said Loper head coach Rick Squiers. “It took a while to knock the fight out of them. We just stayed the course and were steady enough to get some separation in all three sets.”
Schroer (Ogallala) hit a solid .324 in having a match-high kill total. The three-year starter needs just 48 more to become the 28th Loper to reach the 1,000 career kill mark. To date, she’s averaging 2.63 kills per set.
In the back row, McDonnell (Papillion) was coming off a career-high 38 digs in a losing effort at Washburn. She is fast approaching the school record, now with 1,932 career digs. Former libero/outside hitter Liz McGowan (’14) holds the mark at 2,099. McDonnell’s season average is up to 5.65 digs per set.
Also for Kearney, sophomore middle Josie Cox (North Platte) got off to a fast start and finished with eight kills, six blocks and a .312 attack percentage. Finally, senior setter Lindsey Smith (Dakota Dunes, SD) was at 37 assists, three kills, two digs and an ace.
“It was spurts … it wasn’t great play on our part all the way through. It was just spurts here and there and hopefully we can do that a little more consistently this weekend,” said Squies. “It was nice to get Josie involved. She can run behind the setter and Lindsey did a good job of getting her the ball there. That plants the seed in the defense that’s something they have to worry about the rest of the night.”
Kayla Vitzum paced the Tigers with 11 kills and two digs. UNK hosts No. 16 Central Oklahoma (14-2, 2-0) Friday night. The Bronchos were at Pittsburg State Tuesday night.