Lopers Win in Four over UCO

Lopers Win in Four over UCO
October 22nd, 2021 | Peter Yazvac

Kearney, Neb. – Senior middle Anna Squiers and redshirt sophomore outsides Emersen Cyza (pronounced sigh-zah) and CeCe Beahm combined for 48 kills to help No. 16 Nebraska-Kearney down Central Oklahoma in four sets (-17, 21-25, -21, -15) Friday night at the Health & Sports Center.

The Lopers (17-5, 8-5) win for the fourth straight time and also avenge a four-set loss to the Bronchos (15-6, 8-5) earlier this year. The two teams are now tied for fourth place in the MIAA standings; the top four teams at the end of the season host an MIAA Tournament first round match on Nov. 16 (Tues.).

In a match where there were no lead changes and only two ties, UNK racked up 66 kills, hit .280 and recorded six team blocks. The ‘Chos, who controlled the second set from start to finish, had 11 team blocks but hit .175 to finish with 50 kills.

“We kind of just out lasted them offensively which we had to do. When we played them down there we couldn’t stop them. We did a little better tonight but it’s hard to totally stop them. They have plenty of weapons and pass so well,” said UNK head coach Rick Squiers. “You have to keep siding out through the rotations where you can’t stop them. I thought we did a good job of that tonight.”

Cyza (Alliance) had seven of her team-best 18 kills in the first set as UNK jetted out to leads of 7-3, 14-8 and 20-15. Kills from redshirt freshman right side Lauren Taubenheim (Lincoln Pius) and Cyza got the Lopers to set point and then one of the ‘Chos 15 unforced attack errors made it 1-0 on the score board. UCO, however, turned the tables in the second as they held leads of 5-1, 14-8 and 22-17. Sophomore outside Courtney Lane had five of her team-best 18 kills in this set with UCO also blocking UNK five times.

The Lopers took control of the match when they broke a 12-12 in the third set. An 11-6 run featured three kills from Beahm and Cyza and two from Squiers. The ‘Chos got withing 24-21 but fittingly a Cyza kill ended things. Beahm, Cyza and Squiers each had four kills apiece in the third with UNK recording three of its six team blocks here. A 5-0 run made it 14-8, forced UCO to burn its second timeout and was highlighted by back-to-back stuffs.

“(Limiting UCO on the right side in the fourth) That kind of came out of nowhere. That would’ve made things a lot easier had we been able to do that earlier. It certainly was part of the game plan … we wanted to get block touches on the outsides,” said Squiers. “All of a sudden that showed up in the fourth.”

Cyza, who had 20 kills earlier this fall, reached her kill total in 47 attempts (.255 pct.) with Squiers at a season-best 16. She hit a sparkling .577 and also managed three blocks assists and three digs. Finally, Beahm (14) had a double digit kill total for the fifth time this fall as she hit an efficient .312. Running the show was Kearney senior setter Madison Squiers (54 assists, 11 digs and four kills) with Lincoln senior libero Lindsay Nottlemann at a match-high 23 digs. She also served up three aces.

“Credit our serve receive passes and Maddie did a good job of moving the ball around. We terminated well in a few different positions,” said Squiers. “What’s plagued us every now and then this year is people know we want to set the middle. They camp out on Anna and Bailee (Sterling) but now you have to worry a little bit more about Cyza and Beahm.”

UCO was paced by Lane (18 kills & 16 digs) as well as freshman right side Brynn Egger (11 kills & .312 pct.).

UNK hosts Newman Saturday at 6:30 p.m.

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