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Lopers upset No. 2 Central Missouri on senior day


Before one of the biggest volleyball matchups of the year against Central Missouri, nine seniors on the UNK volleyball team were honored. Two of those seniors, Maddie and Anna Squiers, were playing their final home game with their father, Rick Squiers, as coach.

Anna Squiers exited the match near the end of the third set with a finger injury, meaning other players, particularly the seniors, needed to step up.

“I saw a lot of our upperclassmen pulling the group together and talking to them about how we’re not giving this one up,” Rick Squiers said. “That’s why seniors are so important and obviously we have a lot of them.”

One of the players that stepped up was setter Maddie Squiers. She finished the match with 48 assists, 20 digs and four service aces.

“Maddie Squiers did what she does,” Rick Squiers said. “She wasn’t gonna let us lose.”

The first set of the match went in UNK’s favor, as the Loper’s closed on a 7-1 run to take a 25-14 win. The second set proved to be much of the same, as UNK finished with a 7-2 run, capped off with a service ace from Maddie Squiers, taking the victory 25-17.

Momentum shifted at the very beginning of the third set, with UCM opening to a 5-0 lead. Following Anna Squiers’ injury near the end of the set, UNK was down 19-21. The team rallied, going on a 4-0 run to make it 23-21. The Jennies withstood the storm however, going back-and-forth with the Lopers, until they ultimately took the set 31-29.

The fourth set showcased a lot of trial-and-error for UNK, with Fallon Stutheit, Michaela Bartels and Hannah Scherder entering the rotation.

“It’s a reminder of why you need subs who are capable of coming in and functioning,” said Rick Squiers.

With their backs against the wall, down 7-10, the Lopers went on a 6-0 run to take a 13-10 lead. This time around, the Lopers overpowered the Jennies, holding onto the lead. The match ended fittingly, with a kill from Emersen Cyza, sparking an eruption from the jam-packed crowd within the Health and Sports Center. The 25-21 fourth set finish gave the Lopers a 3-1 victory.

Cyza finished the match with 20 kills, tying her highest-total of the season.

After squandering a 2-0 lead and losing in five sets to UCM earlier in the year, the Lopers didn’t want to make the same mistakes a second time.

“Our kids found a lot more grit and I think eventually they just wanted it that bad,” Rick Squiers said.

The win against No. 2 Central Missouri snapped the Jennies’ 13-game win streak and marked the Lopers’ ninth straight victory as they improve their positioning for the postseason.

“To see our girls get rewarded with a win, knowing that they’ve really had to bring this thing together after an uncharacteristic number of losses to some really good teams; I’m just happy for them,” Rick Squiers said.

The Lopers will travel to Missouri Southern and Pittsburg State for their final two matches of the regular season. 

Anna Squiers is expected to play this weekend with the finger injury she suffered on Saturday. 

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KEVIN BURD, Sports Edior
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