OMAHA, Neb. – For the second consecutive season, the No. 2 Omaha Volleyball team is going to the Summit League Championship Finals. After defeating No. 3 North Dakota State 3-1 Friday night, the Mavericks are set for a rematch of last year’s championship as they take on No. 1 South Dakota tomorrow at 2 p.m.
Set by Set (16-25, 25-19, 25-18, 27-25)
- North Dakota State kicked off the night with back-to-back kills to take an early lead and never look back. They eventually went up 14-6 halfway through the set. There were bright spots for the Mavericks, like Kali Jurgensmeier picking up her first career postseason kill and three kills from Shayla McCormick, but it was not enough as the Bison carried their momentum throughout the entire set, preventing Omaha from really getting started on offense.
- The Mavericks were not about to let NDSU take a 2-0 lead to begin the night, however, as they came out strong in set two. Up 7-6, McCormick started Omaha on a 5-0 scoring run with a kill and a block, before Mariah Murdie closed it out with her second block of the streak. Following several costly service and attack errors by the Bison, as well as a couple of timely kills from Marriah Buss, Omaha soon found itself with a 20-13 lead. From there it only took a couple more NDSU errors and kills from Rachel Fairbanks and Buss to tie up the match at one set apiece.
- After a kill and a block from Jurgensmeier helped Omaha get off to a 3-0 start in set three, their offense never let up as McCormick and Buss would each log three more kills while Jaiden Centeno scored two service aces to give the Mavericks a 20-13 lead. After three more kills from Buss and McCormick, the Mavericks simply had to watch as two more Bison attacks sailed out of bounds to give them a 2-1 set lead.
- Set four was by far the closest of the night, as the Mavericks fought to close out the match and the Bison to force a fifth set. Ruch helped keep Omaha in front early on as she recorded a kill and a block on two straight plays, before serving up back-to-back aces to give Omaha a 9-7 lead. The Bison were not out yet, though, as they fought back to tie the set up at 15-15. Another kill and an ace from Ruch did help Omaha to go up by three at 22-19, but NDSU responded with three straight points to once again tie the set at 22-22. North Dakota State’s comeback would culminate in them going up 25-24. Thankfully, Ruch cut their comeback short and gave Omaha a 26-25 lead off an incredibly clutch kill and a block. At that point, all that was left was for Olivia Curry to score her first service ace of the match to send Omaha to the Championship finals.
Inside the Box Score
- While the Mavericks only bested the Bison by one point (66 vs. 65) and were virtually tied in hitting percentage (.155 vs. 158), where they truly pulled ahead was in aces as they finished with an eight to three lead in the stat. Omaha also out-blocked NDSU 12 to 10.
- Like many times this year, McCormick and Buss led the offense with 12 kills each. McCormick also recorded 17 digs for yet another double-double on top of her 17 during the regular season.
- In their first ever playoff game with Omaha, Murdie and Jurgensmeier paced the team in blocks, with Murdie stopping seven shots and Jurgensmeier four.
- Ruch picked up three service aces for just the second time this year. Along with her eight kills and four total blocks, she tied McCormick for the team lead with 13.5 points.
- Tonight’s win was also the 250th of Head Coach Matt Buttermore career as a collegiate head coach. 72 of those have come in his last four seasons with Omaha.
The Mavericks will be back on the court at 2 p.m. tomorrow for the Championship match. This will be Omaha’s third meeting with No. 1 South Dakota this season.