KEARNEY — Senior outside hitter Julianne Jackson and freshman middle blocker Michaela Bartels had 10 kills apiece to help third-ranked University of Nebraska at Kearney sweep Missouri Western (25-13, 25-15, 25-17) Friday night at the Health and Sports Center.
Jackson reached her kill total in just 24 swings with zero errors for a .417 efficiency. UNK (17-0, 8-0 MIAA) hit a solid .300 against a Griffons squad (9-6, 3-4) that dug up five more balls than the Lopers.
"From a defensive standpoint they had stretches where it was impossible to get a ball down on them. As the match was going on, if it was close, they were all over the place but if we could crack it open things got a little easier," said UNK coach Rick Squiers.
Things were tight in the opening set when Emma Benton stepped to the line with UNK ahead 10-9. She didn’t leave until it was 20-10, as she recorded one ace.
UNK wasn’t pushed again until the Griffons went on an 8-3 run late in the third set to trail by a 16-15 score. A kill by freshman outside Sami Mauch and back-to-back Missouri Western errors gave UNK some breathing room.
"No one had been able to sweep them in our conference," Squiers said. "They have a lot of weapons and we were able to get control of, in my opinion, a really difficult conference match that sits on the schedule. We have only one match this weekend, Washburn’s coming in Tuesday and there was a lot of scary things about how they were playing."
UNK hosts fifth-ranked Washburn at 6 p.m Tuesday. The Ichabods (14-1, 6-1), who were swept by the Lopers in September, beat Missouri Southern in five sets on Friday. Washburn plays at Pittsburg State today (Saturday).