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The Antelope

    Can’t stop me now, Lopers sweep season series from Washburn

    UNK volleyball bench celebrating


    UNK women’s volleyball team continued its dominance of the MIAA conference on October 15 against No.4 Washburn (15-2). The Lopers swept the Ichabods 3-0 for the second time this year. “That’s probably the most ground out, knock out, drag out three-set match we’ll see,” said UNK coach Rick Squiers. Set one was a back and forth battle between UNK and Washburn in the beginning. Neither team was able to make a run, and after an attack error by the Ichabod’s Allison Sadler the game was tied at 6-6.

    The turning point in the set was when the Lopers were able to go on a 4-0 run. This was fueled by redshirt-freshman Sami Mauch who had back to back kills.

    Down 23-13, Washburn was able to rally four points off in a row. In the end, it wasn’t enough. A Kelsey Gordon error secured the 25-17 first set win for UNK. “Our defense was fantastic and I think we did a good job putting enough pressure on them from the service line to take away an option or two,” Squiers said. The second set turned out to be the most competitive game of the night. The Lopers looked like they would run away with it up 19-13. That wasn’t the case as Washburn started on the comeback trail. The Ichabod’s had a stretch where they outscored the Lopers nine to three to tie it up at 22 apiece. Like they have done all season, UNK fought back from adversity. Kills by veteran leaders Wolfe and Julianne Jackson helped the Lopers win 25-23.

    Julianne Jackson spiking the ball against Washburn

    This toughness and strength that UNK volleyball plays with, can be attributed to the bond they have with each other.

    “We are best friends,” said UNK outside hitter Mauch. We get along so well on the court and off the court. That cohesiveness is making us play smoothly every single game.”

    The Lopers banded together to put out their best performance in set three. Mauch led the charge for UNK with six kills including the match point, that helped UNK win the third 25-16.

    Leaders on the night for UNK were Mauch with a season-high 15 kills, Jackson with 13 kills and Wolfe with 9 kills.

    The performance by Mauch was particularly special, knowing where she was at just a season ago. An injury sustained in the summer of 2018 almost derailed her career altogether.

    “There were multiple times where I thought my volleyball career was over with. Honestly, the support from my parents, family, friends, coaches, New West, and our trainers made we want to believe in myself and pushed me every single day to come back from my injury and now I’m here,” Mauch said.

    The Lopers are back in action this weekend at Pittsburg State (9-9) Oct.18 and Missouri Southern State (10-9) Oct.19.

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