Lopers Hit Milestones with Victory

Lopers Hit Milestones with Victory
UNK Celebrates big night of achievements-Photo Courtesy UNK Sports
October 24th, 2021 | Peter Yazvac

Kearney, Neb. – Redshirt sophomore outside Emersen Cyza had another big night, senior middle Anna Squiers reached 1,000 career kills and Rick Squiers won his 1,000 match as No. 16 Nebraska-Kearney swept Newman (-19, -9, -20) Saturday night at the Health & Sports Center. UNK (18-5, 9-5) wins for a fifth straight time while the Jets, from Wichita, fall to 8-12 (4-1).

Squiers is in his 32nd year of coaching volleyball with stops at UNK, Hastings College, Seward (Kan.) C.C. and Remsen St. Mary (Ia.) High School. He has amassed a gaudy 693-94 record since taking over the Lopers in 1999. Note the 1,000-career win total doesn’t factor in the 16-3 “non-countable” 2021 spring season.

“(One-thousand wins) means you’ve had a lot of good players and assistant coaches. And you’ve been at places that give you a chance to win like this one,” said Squiers. “You stop and think about how lucky you are to have coached a lot of really good players and good people. And it’s a little bit of a reminder you’ve been doing this a long time.” 

His first volleyball win came at the 1990 Sioux City (Ia.) West High Invite. Since then, the former college basketball and softball coach has led countless players and four programs to great heights.

“As you get toward the end of it you try and appreciate it a little bit more. Especially this year when the wins have been harder to get. I’ve appreciated them all (the wins), appreciate all these guys playing so hard and for everyone that’s ever played here,” said Squiers. “I especially appreciate the players who were with me when I didn’t know what the heck I was doing.”

Tonight, UNK need to fight off a talented young Jets squad in the first. Things were all tied at 17 when the Lopers finished on an 8-2 run. Two kills by Cyza and ones from middle Bailee Sterling (Kearney H.S.) and right side Lauren Taubenheim (Lincoln Pius) highlighted this stretch as well as a Cyza solo block and ace from defensive specialist Breanna Jones (Littleton, Colo.).

“We remained confident in our offense. We were kicking it around a bit on defense and kind of playing tight early on. Maddie (Squiers) got us in a good spot a few times and we continued to pass the ball,” said Squies. “We just cleaned things up a little.”

Cyza had seven kills in eight swings with no errors in the first set (.875 pct.) and ended the match with a team-best 17. The Wyoming transfer has had at least nine kills in 11 straight matches.  

“We certainly knew who Emersen was. We saw a little bit of her when we scrimmaged Wyoming in 2019. I thought she played really well that night,” said Squiers. “It’s turned out to be a blessing because the can really score out there.”

UNK hit a sparkling .424 (16-2-33) to control the second set. NU also helped out with four unforced attack errors and was aced twice. Right side Sami Mauch (North Platte) provided the Loper offense, having five kills in five attempts.

However, the Jets bounced back in the third as they came back from an 11-3 hole to trail 23-18.  But kills by Mauch and Cyza ended the match and started the “1,000 party.” Squiers (Kearney Catholic) is now up to 1,002 kills to rank 31st in school history with Jones (1,098) and senior libero Lindsay Nottlemann (1,065) recently reaching the 1,000-career dig milestone.

“It’s really cool (Anna’s 1,000th kill). I didn’t know that .. I was just trying to stay on task. I knew she was getting close after hearing about our 1,000-dig achievers,” said Squiers. “That’s a lot of kills especially for a middle.”

Newman freshman star Riley Daugherty had eight kills, four digs and two blocks.

The Lopers head to Missouri Western and nationally-ranked Northwest Missouri next weekend.

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