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The Antelope

Lopers finish regular season with two MIAA victories

UNK is 26-4 heading into the conference tournament. Photo provided by Kylie Schwab / Antelope Staff 

UNK took on Pittsburg State on Thursday at home. The Lopers had an 11-point run in the third set which was led off with a kill by Emilee Lane. Bailee Sterling’s kill put the match at set point and it was finished off with an attack error by the Gorillas for the Lopers to win 3-0.

“We were able to make just one or two defensive plays, especially in the first set,” said UNK coach Rick Squiers. “We didn’t have any blocks for point in the first set, but we got a few good touches down the stretch that allowed us to run transition offense back at them and score.”

UNK won the first set by a close score of 25-22. The Lopers were able to regain some balance winning the second set 25-18. Emersen Cyza led the team with 12 kills.

“Somehow we were able to score a bunch, we had good balance. Emersen, the thing about her is even if she’s not getting kills, she’s drawing tension,” Squiers said. “I’m sure that everybody kind of game plans, they know where she is, it opens up a chance to go to the right side cause you’re not gonna just ignore Emersen Cyza, and at the same time, she still gets you a dozen kills, especially in a close match. You need somebody to get you double digits and she still did.”

The Lopers dominated the third set. Lane started the set with a kill and Sterling finished it with a kill which led to a winning score of 25-17.

“Emilee Lane is continuing to progress,” Squiers said. “In addition to getting some points, she came out and put the ball in play. She comes off the net, plays pretty good defense. She was composed and that’s been a good piece of our roster to have in the late stretch of the season.”

UNK also took on Missouri Southern on Friday at home. The Lopers took the win over the Lions with a score of 3-0. 

Missouri Southern is a tough team with three quality wins against Washburn, Central Missouri and Central Oklahoma.

“I did not have to inform our players about how good they were and how well they had been playing, they knew that,” Squiers said. “I think they came to play understanding that this team is dominant.”

The Lions led off the first set with a kill, but the Lopers and a kill by Peyton Neff extended their lead to 23-13. The set ended after two attack errors from the Lions, who were -0.17% accurate for attacks in the game.

“It was probably about as well as we’ve played here in the last two or three weeks and the seniors, most of the seniors that played, did really well,” Squiers said.

The Loper offense was on fire during the second set. Cyza led off with the first kill and Lauren Taubenheim closed out the set with a kill, to win it 25-11.

The third set was composed of errors from Missouri Southern, which played to the advantage of UNK as they won the set 25-17 and the match 3-0.

The Lopers will travel to St. Joseph, Missouri for the MIAA Tournament on Thursday to play Missouri Western once again in the first round.

“We got a chance to play one of these two teams we just played,” said Squiers. “It won’t be easy, but we should go and play with confidence. We’re just trying to move on to the next round and keep ourselves alive in the regional discussion.” 

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