KEARNEY – The 10th Annual Loper Football Backers dinner and scholarship fundraiser is set for Tuesday at the Younes Conference Center in Kearney.
Since its inception in 2010, the event has raised more than $1.53 million dollars for scholarships and other program needs. Last year’s event raised an all-time high of $246,300.
The program starts with a social hour at 5:30 p.m., followed by dinner and silent auction at 6:30 p.m. and live auction at 7:30 p.m. Tickets, still available, are $50 per person and include dinner. This year’s highlights include the always popular "Lease a Loper" videos created by players and coaches and more than 130 silent and 30 live auction items.
To check out the auction item list and to sign up to bid on any item, go to the Qtego site (https://qtego.net/qlink/unkfootball). The silent auction items include a football signed by Husker Heisman Trophy winners, an autographed Patrick Mahomes football and a mini-helmet signed by Loper quarterback legend Justin Coleman.
Dismal River Golf and Hunting packages are among the live auction items up for bid, as well as a trip to a Kansas City Royals baseball game and the Great Wolf Lodge.
Tickets for the diamond/gun raffle (aka "Bullets & Bling") will be available throughout the night. Only 200 tickets have been made for purchase at $100 apiece.
The Loper Football Backers is a community-led volunteer organization whose mission is to raise scholarship dollars for the UNK football program.
Softball team sweeps doubleheader with SBU
BOLIVAR, Mo. — The University of Nebraska at Kearney softball team hit four more home runs and hung on to sweep Southwest Baptist, 9-3 and 4-2, Friday afternoon in Bolivar, Mo.
UNK freshman sensation Carlee Liesch and junior Alexis Howe hit two-run homers in the first game. Liesch went 2 for 5 at the plate with three RBIs. Howe also drove in three runs.
Junior Erin Hallman (7-10) tossed an eight-hit complete game.
Liesch went 2 for 4 with two doubles in the nightcap to extend her hitting streak to 13 games. She’s hitting .478 with 64 hits and seven home runs this year, among the best in NCAA Division II.
UNK (17-21, 11-11 MIAA) broke open a scoreless second game with a three-run fifth, highlighted by a two out, two-run home run to right center by senior third baseman Cheyenne Hamilton. She leads the team with eight home runs.
SBU (5-42, 2-18), heading to the Great Lakes Valley Conference next season, tried to rally from a 4-0 hole in the bottom of the seventh. A leadoff walk, an infield single, a throwing error and a ground out brought home one run. A hit batter loaded the bases with one out. But Loper redshirt freshman Megan Blake earned her first collegiate save by getting a swinging strikeout and a pop up to end the game.
Designated player Karlee Arnold, who was 2 for 2, joined Liesch and Hamilton with multi-hit efforts in the second game. She belted her sixth homer to start the sixth.
Sophomore pitcher Sarah Handrahan won for the seventh time by throwing five shutout innings.
Today (Saturday), UNK faces regionally-ranked Central Missouri.
Volleyball team adds setter recruit from NPCC
KEARNEY — University of Nebraska at Kearney volleyball coach Rick Squiers announced the addition of setter Taylin McNair on Thursday.
The 5-foot-7 Imperial native will have two years of eligibility remaining after playing at North Platte Community College the past two years. McNair is the ninth member of this year’s recruiting class, following the signings of mid-year transfer Bailee Sterling and seven high school seniors.
She joins redshirt junior Madison Squiers and redshirt freshman Emma Murphy as the setters on the team. The starting spot will be open with four-year starter Lindsey Smith graduating.
McNair played in 36 matches for the NPCC Knights in 2018, recording 752 assists (5.7 per set avg.) to rank second in Region IX. She also led the region in aces (47) and was ninth in digs (297). NPCC ran a 6-2 offensive system before going to a 5-1 later in the fall with McNair being the primary setter. Subsequently, she was named to the Region IX All-Tournament team and was tabbed honorable mention junior college all-state by the Omaha World-Herald.
McNair also saw extensive playing time as a freshman. She racked up 444 assists, 238 digs and 18 aces over 91 sets.
McNair has strong UNK ties as her grandmother (volleyball and track), grandfather (football) and uncle (track) all were Loper student-athletes.
UNK draws UCO in first round of MIAA tennis tournament
KEARNEY — The UNK women’s tennis team will battle eighth-ranked Central Oklahoma in the first round of the MIAA Tournament at 9 a.m. Friday in Oklahoma City.
The winner of the single-elimination, eight-team tournament at the OKC Tennis Center receives an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.
UNK (15-12) is the seventh seed in the tourney with the Bronchos (15-4) the second seed. During the regular season UCO posted a 7-0 victory over the Lopers in Grand Island.
The Loper-Bronchos winner will face the Northwest Missouri/Emporia State victor at 2 p.m. April 27. The championship match is set for 10 a.m. on April 28 and will be carried by The MIAA Network.