Lady Lopers on record with back-to-back 30-win VB seasons, top MIAA seed
Fifteen straight wins and a season of going undefeated at home has the UNK volleyball team prepped for the postseason. In the regular season, the ladies have not lost a home game since Nov. 1 of 2014.
The regular season finale against Missouri Western on Nov. 11 did not go in favor of the Lopers, as the Griffons were able to pull off an upset in four sets. With both teams sitting at 16-2 in the MIAA, the Griffons and Lopers will share the MIAA regular season title for the 2017 season.
The ladies have made a habit of leaving their mark against each opponent, having sweeps in 20 out of their 33 matches. The Lopers only got swept once during the entire regular season in a matchup against the Central Oklahoma Bronchos on Sept. 30. On Nov. 4, the Lady Lopers got their revenge with a sweep of their own against the Bronchos.
From an individual standpoint, the Loper volleyball team is stacked from top to bottom in talent. Whether it be the veteran Tara Ziegelbein, a senior middle blocker from Lincoln majoring in biology and veterinary medicine, or freshman outside hitter Anna Squiers, an education major from Kearney, the Lopers constantly rotate players and put their depth on display by having different players in the starting lineup almost every game.
Ziegelbein has played a key role for her team all season long both on and off the court and serves as a motivator before each game, hyping up her teammates with all that they do while still bringing her own intensity to the court. Each hit from her coming off of a well-placed set can be heard all around Buckle Court and somehow the opposing blocker can still use her hands the rest of the match.
Ziegelbein is not alone when it comes to killing the volleyball with ferocity. The Lopers combined for 1,558 kills throughout the regular season. Joining Ziegelbein and Squiers consistently this year spiking fear into each opponent that comes UNK’s way is Kendall Schroer, a junior pre-nursing major from Ogallala, Kaitlynn Thomas, a senior business administration and finance major from Yutan and Julianne Jackson, a sophomore pre-nursing major from Bonner Springs, KS.
Ziegelbein leads the ladies with 332 kills, right behind her is Schroer with 328 kills, then Thomas following up with 198 kills. Jackson stays close this year with 187 kills and is closely followed by Squiers with 163 kills.
The Lopers will be heading into the MIAA tournament with the top seed, a 30-3 record and will be putting their 52 game home win streak on the line against Emporia State. The Lopers have yet to lose to the Hornets this season, winning both matches in dominant fashion. As it stands for the tournament itself, the volleyball team is looking to advance to the end and bring the national title back to UNK. The Lopers will kick off the tournament on Nov 14. at 6 p.m. at Buckle Court in the Health and Sports Center.
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