Click here for interview with head coach Rick Squiers
Kearney, Neb. – For the first time since playing for the 2019 National Championship the Nebraska-Kearney volleyball team will see another team across the net.
Now unranked UNK (*AVCA is ranking only teams that have played a match) travels to former RMAC rivals Colorado-Colorado Springs and Metro State this weekend to kick start an interesting spring season. The Lopers currently have 16 scheduled matches with the MIAA Invitational (April 16-17) and Central Region Invitational (April 23-24) to follow.
UNK hasn’t played a match against outside competition in 425 days, 10,200 hours, and close to 61 weeks. Kearney is at 22nd-ranked UCCS (2-2) Thursday at 8 p.m. Central and then heads up to Denver on Saturday to face the fourth-ranked Roadrunners (5-0) at 12 p.m.
While All-American and 2019 Co-MIAA Player of the Year Julianne Jackson (3.19 kills & 3.79 digs per set) must be replaced on the outside and sophomore middle Michaela Bartels (2.00 kills & 0.75 blocks per set) rehabbing from injury, head coach Rick Squiers and his staff still has a stacked roster.
All-Americans Madison Squiers (11.0 assists, 3.38 digs & 0.95 kills ps; 23 aces) and Anna Squiers (2.47 kills & 0.78 block ps; .332 pct.) return as do 2019 All-MIAA selections Mary Katherine Wolfe (2.39 kills & 3.17 dps; 30 aces) and Lindsay Nottlemann (5.10 dps).
Next, redshirt sophomore Sami Mauch (North Platte) is back on the outside with senior defensive specialist Monique Schafer (2.67 dps) returning in the back row. Replacing Bartles and departed seniors Josie Cox and Mackenzie Puckett in the middle is redshirt sophomore Bailee Sterling (Kearney H.S.), redshirt freshmen Hannah Scherder (Peoria, Ill.) and Nebraska transfer and redshirt freshman Fallon Stutheit (Johnson).
Finally, junior Gracie Stienike (Gothenburg) will be one of the top options on the outside this spring, junior newcomer Breanna Jones (Littleton, Colo.) is another talent in the back row with true freshman Lauren Taubenheim (Lincoln Pius X) a strong passer and an option on the right or outside.