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The Antelope

UNK volleyball finds groove as regular winds down

Photo by Kosuke Yoshii


The legend of the 2019 UNK volleyball team continues to grow as its record improved to 23-0 on the season after a week where they picked up three wins against Emporia State, Central Oklahoma, and Newman University.

“We played good defense, passed well, and were able to find some offensive matchups our hitters could score with,” coach Rich Squiers said. “We also competed hard and made a lot of hustle plays.”

The No. 2 Lopers lone home game was Tuesday, Oct. 22 against Emporia State. UNK came into the game having already played the Hornets once, back on Sept. 20.

The scoreline from matchup two read nearly identical to the early season tilt. For the second time, the Lopers swept Emporia State.

UNK came out strong against the Hornets in set one. Freshman Kamryn Schuler (Gretna) came off the bench and had four kills to propel the Lopers to the 25-18 win.

The second set was the most lopsided affair of the night. Emporia State struggled to handle UNK’s serves, as Mo Schafer (Stuart), Julianne Jackson (Bonner Springs, Kansas), and Maddie Squiers (Kearney) each had an ace. Pair that with eight ball handling/attack errors and it equaled a 25-13 win for the Lopers.  

A quick 7-2 start in set three helped propel UNK to win the match 25-20. Shuler led all players with thirteen kills. 

On Friday, the Lopers traveled to Edmond, Oklahoma to take on Central Oklahoma. In the most recent rankings, the Broncos are in contention to be rated.

In set one veteran Mary Katherine Wolfe (Omaha) led the charge for UNK with eight kills. Her last one helped the Lopers win 25-17.

“I have a calm demeanor on the court and that translates into the way I play,” said outside hitter Wolfe.

Set two ended with the same result as the first. Great passing by Maddie Squiers and five kills by Schuler were the main factors for their success.

After a slow start, UCO warmed up in set three. A service error by Wolfe led to the Lopers trailing by five at 20-15. In the final 11 points of the game, UNK turned the tide of the match by going on a 10-1 run.

The result was a 25-21 set three and match win.

From Oklahoma, the Lopers moved onto Wichita, Kansas, on Saturday for a matchup with Newman University. 

UNK made quick work of the Jets in three sets, winning 25-11, 25-9, and 25-19.

Leading the way was Anna Squiers (Kearney) with 10 kills.

Along with being 23-0, the Lopers are currently on an eight-game streak where they haven’t lost a set. One of the big contributors to this is the way the team from this year has jelled together.

“We all get along so well off the court and that reflects the way we interact on the court. We are also very calm in high-pressure situations which helps us be successful,” Wolfe said.

As the stakes and pressure rise toward the end of the season UNK continues to get better and better. This is a direct result of their philosophy of focusing on just the next match in front of them. 

“We try our best to be process-oriented so the result isn’t the ultimate indication of our performance. Our goal is to play the next match as well as we can. Then, regardless of the outcome, move on to the next one while trying to learn from and enjoy the experience. It’s pretty unrealistic to think about winning them all or even being 23-0 for that matter. We still have lots to work on with the hope of getting better every week,” Squiers said.

This weekend the Lopers play host to No. 14 Northwest Missouri State (14-5) on Nov. 1 and No. 10 Central Missouri (14-6) on Nov. 2.

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