Pylon

WARRENSBURG, Mo. — The fourth-ranked University of Nebraska at Kearney volleyball team hit .667 in the fifth set to close on an 8-2 run to defeat 13th-ranked Central Missouri 18-25, 25-21, 25-22, 15-25, 15-9 Friday night at Warrensburg.

It is the Lopers’ eighth straight win over the Jennies (9-5, 3-2). UNK improves to 14-0 (5-0) and is now 10-2 in five-set matches since the start of the 2017 season.

In a match with 22 ties and nine lead changes, a kill by UNK senior outside hitter Emma Benton made it 8-7 in the fifth set and UNK wouldn’t trail again. Back-to-back kills by Benton and fellow outside Julianne Jackson made it 10-8 and forced Central Missouri to call its final timeout.

The short break didn’t help as UNK used the Jennies’ 13th service error and two kills by junior middle Anna Squiers to move ahead 13-9. Jackson’s 10th and final kill of the night got UNK to set point, and then an unforced Jennies error ended the 2-hour, 5-minute match.

The Lopers didn’t hit above .237 during the first four sets but got red hot when it mattered most, having 10 kills and no errors in 15 attempts in the final set.

Overall, UCM outhit UNK by 84 percentage points, managed 11 more digs and 18 more kills but the Lopers had eight more service aces and 11 blocks.

Junior right-side MK Wolfe had a team-best 14 kills with Jackson at 16 digs, two solo blocks and seven aces, which are just three shy of tying the school record, set in 1994 by Kelli Koch in a win over Minnesota State.

Squiers had four of UNK’s fifth-set kills with Jackson, Benton and Wolfe having the other six. Squiers ended with nine kills, six digs and four blocks with sophomore libero Lindsay Nottlemann at a team-high 29 digs.

UNK heads to 10th-ranked Northwest Missouri State today (Saturday). The Bearcats are 12-1 (5-0) after sweeping Fort Hays State on Friday night.

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