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The Antelope

Jensen Rowse transitioning to fill libero position for Lopers

Minden native Jensen Rowse has played in every match for the Lopers this seasons. Photo provided by Kolton Maturey / Antelope Staff

It is no surprise to see the Loper volleyball team striving for excellence and maintaining a near perfect record of 13-1 so far this season. The team has seen a lot of changes this past year, but has reloaded with players stepping up.

“A lot of new faces and new roles,” said UNK coach Rick Squiers. “I think the biggest challenge is blending those together. Some of the veterans are having to take on a little more responsibility but then trying to pull up some of these freshmen to get to a point where they can play with confidence.” 

Squiers took notice of the hard work put in by sophomore Jensen Rowse this fall. She has stepped into a key role on the court for the Lopers. 

She is now the libero for the team, a position held for three seasons by Lindsay Nottlemann. The position was open and Rowse took that as a prime opportunity to show her skills. 

“One of the question marks we had coming in this fall was who was going to put on the libero jersey,” Squiers said. “We had a good run from Lindsay Nottlemann. Last spring there was a bit of a competition for it and Jensen kind of put herself in the driver’s seat but there were a few newcomers in camp this fall. We thought it would play itself out and it did. Kind of just with a little old fashioned hard work and commitment, she has been able to play her way to the top and that has been a big part of our success so far.”

Rowse was eager to experience her new position and has taken the court by storm, as she leads the team with 198 digs. She is a versatile player for the Lopers and has experience in multiple positions. 

“I played outside all the way around, I was front row, back row and a setter my senior year,” Rowse said. “I played a little bit of everything except for libero which is a little ironic. I saw that window of opportunity and jumped all over it. It’s an honor and it’s awesome to play at a program this well and have this big of a role on the team.”

Preparing for a game doesn’t always just mean physical preparation, as mental preparation is a strong suit for any sport. Rowse has her own routine before she steps on the court. 

“I do a lot of visualizations,” Rowse said. “That is something I’ve gotten a lot better at this past year. So in the locker room before games I like to close my eyes, put my head down and do some visualizations. That has actually really helped me.”

The Loper volleyball team has been known to make their mark. This season is no different, as the chemistry of the team is strong alongside their motivation to compete.

“I have such a love for the game and it’s just so fun being on the court with the girls who I honestly consider my best friends,” Rowse said. “It’s just such a fun time and I’d have to say my teammates motivate me the most.”

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