Kearney, Neb. – The number top-ranked Nebraska-Kearney volleyball team hit a combined .333 to roll past Mercyhurst (-10, -13, -21) and Indiana of Pennsylvania (-10-, -15 -15) Friday at the Vulcan Classic in Western Pennsylvania.
These matches were part of the Vulcan Invitational, hosted by California of Pennsylvania. The Lopers (10-0) face Bloomsburg and the CU Vulcans on Saturday. Live stats will be available for these matches.
UNK managed 81 kills on the day while holding its opponents to a negative .016 hitting efficiency. The MU Lakers (3-7) and IUP Crimson Hawks (3-7) combined for just 43 kills and 46 attack errors.
Junior outside hitter Julianne Jackson (Bonner Springs, Kan.) powered UNK in the early contest against Mercyhurst. She managed 15 kills, seven digs, two blocks and hit .328. The 15 kills are two shy of her career high and come right after Jackson was named MVP of the Rosella Meier UNK Fall Classic.
The Lopers out hit the Lakers .367 to .043 with six others besides Jackson finishing with at least three kills. That large group included junior middle Mackenzie Puckett (Grand Island) who had five kills and no errors in seven swings (.714 pct.).
Puckett continued her hot hand against IUP, a team UNK swept earlier this fall in Southern California. This time around she went for nine kills in 11 attempts with no errors. The .818 hitting percentage places her fifth all-time in Loper lore (minimum 10 kills), right behind her own 10-0-12 effort (.833) last fall vs. Johnson & Wales of Colorado.
Facing a tall IUP squad, Puckett and the Lopers dug up 39 balls and had 5.0 team blocks to hold the Crimson Hawks to a negative .082 efficiency (17-24-85). Senior libero Ellie McDonnell (Papillion) had 16 digs with Puckett providing five blocks at the net. McDonnell also had 17 digs in the win over the Lakers.
UNK continues to serve tough, managing seven more aces against IUP. Four different Lopers had one in the win over MU to push the season total to 63 (1.9 per set).