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The Antelope

Lopers beat Central Washington in a long 5-set thriller

Lauren Taubenheim and Bailee Sterling go up to block the Central Washington attack.

The No. 10 Loper volleyball squad cruised through the Rosella Meier Classic at the Health & Sports Center, winning each of their first three matches in three sets. 

The fourth game against Central Washington was much different. 

The Lopers trailed 2-1 and the fourth set wasn’t looking much better. The set was riddled with long video replay review delays. A substitution infraction review delay stopped the game for around 10 minutes. 

“We really did kind of come out of that delay with a little spurt,” said UNK head coach Rick Squiers. “All of a sudden it felt like we had a chance.”

UNK was down 24-23 with Emersen Cyza due up to serve and only one substitution left. Squiers had a decision to make on whether to leave Cyza in or stick with his normal rotation of putting in Lexi Stephens to serve.

“My inclination was to take her out,” Squiers said. “My entire staff was against that idea, for some reason they wanted Emersen. I think just to play it safe and in case it went back and forth. You didn’t want to run out of subs and have Lexi Stephens play outside hitter.”

Cyza’s first serve was an ace to tie the game at 24. She then served for the next two Loper points which were scored off of a block from Fallon Stutheit and Emilee Lane. A kill from Stutheit won the set 26-24.

“I was outvoted,” Squiers said. “I listened smartly to the staff and they were right.”

The Lopers opened the fifth set on a 6-0 run. They would go on to win the set off of kills by Cyza, Stutheit, Lane, Lauren Taubenheim, Bailee Sterling and Asha Regier. 

Stephens finished the night off for UNK with a service ace to win the set 15-10 and the match 3-2.

“It seemed to me tonight that whichever side was able to string some blocks together was able to kind of wrestle control of things,” Squiers said. “They seemed to have our number there for a while and we just kind of got these blocking bunches. We just kept chipping.”

Cyza led the team with 20 kills. Stutheit and Taubenheim had 10 kills each. Jensen Rowse led the team in digs with 20 and Peyton Neff led in assists with 37.

The Lopers will be back in action in the Health & Sports Center on Tuesday against Friends University.

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