Supernovas upset by Mojo

Supernovas upset by Mojo
April 2nd, 2024 | Omaha Supernovas

SAN DIEGO, CA. – Bethania de la Cruz and Hristina Vuchkova each broke a franchise record as the Omaha Supernovas (10-5) fell to the San Diego Mojo (4-7) 25-20, 21-25, 23-25, 22-25, Tuesday night at Viejas Arena in San Diego. 

De la Cruz had one of the best performances in the league’s young history, recording a franchise-record 26 kills on a .418 hitting percentage along with 13 digs, three blocks, one assist and her league-leading 24th ace of the season. The soon to be three-time Olympian accounted for 50% of the team’s kills with no other player going above six. Her three blocks are also a season high. De la Cruz has dominated San Diego in the two matches, combining to hit .427 with 39 kills, 19 digs, three blocks and two aces. 

Vuchkova broke her own franchise record, coming up with six blocks on the night to go along with six kills and three digs. The Bulgarian matched the previous record of five blocks four separate times before Tuesday. 

Including Vuchkova, three different players finished with six kills for Omaha as team captain Brooke Nuneviller and Paige Briggs equaled that total. Briggs chipped in a team-high 16 digs. Opposite Nia Reed and middle blocker Tori Dixon each tallied three kills. 

Setter Sydney Hilley finished with 39 assists and 12 digs. Liberos Kendall White and Gabby Thompson combined for 20 digs and nine assists. The Supernovas hit .204 with 13 blocks which ties a season high. Omaha also had three aces.

Outside hitter Temi Thomas-Ailara led the Mojo with 22 kills and 17 digs. Kendra Dahlke and Papa Valeria were the other two to finish in double-digit kills as Dahlke added 17 kills and Valeria 13. Ronika Stone hit above .300 and chipped in eight kills and tied a team high with three blocks. Setter Tomkom Nootsara dished out 51 assists and tied a match-high 21 digs. 

The Mojo hit .205 with 10 blocks and six aces which matches the highest total an opponent has recorded against the Supernovas serve receive.

Set 1: Tied at three to begin the match, Hilley served an 8-0 run including two Vuchkova kills and a block to make it 11-4 Supernovas. De la Cruz also chipped in a pair of kills during the run. Former Supernova Lindsay Vander Weide ended the run with a kill and the Mojo quickly turned around to start a run of their own. The Mojo leaned on Thomas-Ailara as she earned four kills in a 5-0 run to cut the lead to 13-9. Reed and Vuchkova combined on a block to end the run. San Diego cut the lead to 15-13 off two more kills from Thomas-Ailara, but back-to-back kills from Nuneviller and de la Cruz extended the lead back to 17-13. 

The Mojo got back within two off a Stone kill, but a de la Cruz termination and a pair of hitting errors brought the lead to 21-16 Omaha. Hilley picked up another ace on a short serve to make it 23-19. Thomas-Ailara recorded three more kills in a 4-1 Mojo run, but a service error gave Omaha a 25-20 opening-set win. 

The Supernovas hit .200 as a team with three blocks and two aces. De la Cruz totaled a team-high six kills while Nuneviller and Vuchkova each hammered three kills. San Diego hit .152 with two blocks and no aces. Thomas-Ailara had one of her best sets of the season with nine kills on a .333 hitting percentage.

Set 2: De la Cruz picked up two more kills to begin the set. The Mojo went off on a 6-1 run to take an 8-4 lead as back-to-back kills from Dahlke forced a Supernovas timeout at 8-4. Trailing 10-6, Omaha went off on a 4-0 run to tie the match as de la Cruz continued her impressive night with two more kills and a solo block. Reed also recorded her second kill in the run. The two teams exchanged blows as de la Cruz recorded her league-leading 24th ace to make it 14-13 Omaha. Tied at 17, San Diego mustered a 3-1 run to take a 20-17 lead. De la Cruz earned another kill to cut the lead to one, but back-to-back points put the Mojo ahead 22-19. Thomas-Ailara used a block touch to make it set point with Stone finishing it off with a kill to mark a 25-21 Mojo set-two win.

San Diego hit .302 in the set with two blocks and no aces. Dahlke went off for eight kills on a .438 clip to lead the Mojo offense. Papa contributed four kills while Stone chipped in three. Omaha hit .194 with one block and one ace. De la Cruz was once again dominant with seven kills on a whopping .538 hitting percentage. Nuneviller added three kills.

Set 3: San Diego shot out to a 5-1 lead to begin the set which included an ace from Nootsara. Reed earned a kill to cut into the lead which was followed by a de la Cruz kill and a Vuchkova block. De la Cruz terminated two more times while Reed added another to tie the match at eight. The set turned into a game of runs as the Mojo ripped off an 8-1 run to take control. San Diego put down two aces and two kills apiece from Stone and Dahlke. Briggs had a solo block to end the run which she followed up with a kill of her own. De la Cruz took over from there scoring six straight for the Supernovas as the match was tied at 20. Each team went back-and-forth with Briggs hammering down two more kills. With Omaha leading 23-22, the Mojo scored three straight to win the set 25-23. 

San Diego hit .296 with one block and four aces. Thomas-Ailara led the way with six kills, five for Dahlke and three each from Stone and Papa. Omaha hit .326 with only one hitting error as well as two blocks, but no aces. De la Cruz put down nine more kills on a .533 clip with Briggs tallying four kills in the set. 

Set 4: San Diego climbed to an early 3-1 lead, but de la Cruz continued her onslaught with three more kills and a block. Vuchkova added two more blocks to her total as the Supernovas used a 4-0 run to take a 7-4 lead. The Mojo tied the match at seven after a few Omaha errors, but the Supernovas grabbed the edge once again off a trio of Mojo errors to lead 11-7. The Mojo reclaimed momentum with a run of their own as two aces and a block tied the match at 13. San Diego used three more Thomas-Ailara kills to enact a 4-1 run and take a 17-16 lead. The Supernovas turned it around briefly, as Vuchkova came up with another block and a kill as well as a de la Cruz termination to make it 20-18 Omaha. 

However, there was a sustained delay after a technology error following a Mojo double sub. The delay iced de la Cruz from the service line, resulting in a service error. San Diego took it from there finishing the match on a 7-2 run including a Morgan Lewis kill to finish it off. 

The Supernovas fly home to take on the Columbus Fury on Thursday, April 4 with first serve set for 7 p.m. CDT at th CHI Health Center.


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