TOPEKA, Kan. — The University of Nebraska at Kearney volleyball team swept Central Oklahoma and downed Northwest Missouri State in five sets to win the MIAA Spring Tournament Saturday evening at Topeka.
The event concludes the unusual 2020-21 season for the Lopers. With the NCAA canceling the championships in the fall, this spring didn’t officially count.
Despite being banged up since the season began in February, UNK posted a 16-3 mark. The Lopers beat UCO, 25-22, 25-23, 25-16, in the afternoon semifinals while Northwest swept Central Missouri.
UNK, which got swept by the Bearcats a week earlier, closed the championship match on a 6-2 run to win 25-18, 25-18, 22-25, 23-25, 15-13. Four unforced Northwest errors and a kill from UNK senior middle Anna Squiers erased an 11-9 deficit and put the Lopers at match point.
The Bearcats scored the next two points but redshirt freshman outside Cecilia Beahm recorded a kill to end things.
UNK setter Madison Squiers was named the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player. She was joined on the all-tournament team by her sister, Anna, and Loper right-side hitter Mary Katherine Wolfe.
Three School records fall at Loper Invitational track meet
KEARNEY — University of Nebraska at Kearney junior Baylie Bryant and redshirt sophomores Alex Goracke and Seth Simonson set new school records Sunday at the Loper Invitational at Kearney High School.
Chadron State, Colorado-Colorado Springs, Dodge City C.C. and several unattached athletes from Nebraska were the competition.
Bryant from Holdrege broke a 7-year-old mark in the pole vault, Goracke bested a 12-year-old standard in the hammer with Simonson surpassing a 20-year old record in the 800.
In all, UNK won 13 events, was runner-up 17 times and dominated several events.
In the women’s vault Bryant and UNL freshman Hannah Preissler cleared 12 feet, 3 1/4 inches with Bryant placing second, clearing the height on her final attempt while Preissler made it on her second try.
Goracke won the hammer with a toss of 193-3 with Loper Andrew Schuller three spots back (187-5). The effort just sneaks past the records of 193-2, set by Brandon Karlin in April 2009.
Simonson was one of four Lopers in the top five in the 800 and won with a 1-minute, 50.09 time, breaking the record set by Joe Cooper (1:50.23) at the 2001 NCAA Championships. UNK sophomore Luke Stuckey (1:51.01) second with the sixth-best time in school history.
Junior Tiara Schmidt had one of her best days as a Loper, finishing second in the hammer (191-1) and shot put (50-2 1/2) with career-best throws. Schmidt joins Kearney State legend Jill Stenwall as the only Loper women to reach 50 feet in the shot.
Women’s event winners were Mackenzie Puckett in the triple jump (38-7 3/4) Destiny Reinke in the 1,500 (4:49.47), Anna Squiers in the discus (145-4), Hannah Anderson in the 800 (2:15.76), Kyla Carlson in the 400 (58.40), Abby Everitt in the high jump (5-8)
For the men, Max Lindgren won the 1,500 (4:05.20), Jack Drahota won the 400 hurdles (54.54) and Simonson ran the second leg for the winning 4x4 relay team (3:15.56).
UNK softball team splits slugfest with Bearcats
KEARNEY — Junior first baseman Hailey Schaneman hit two home runs and junior third baseman Avery Wood added a grand slam to help the University of Nebraska at Kearney edge Northwest Missouri State, 9-8, in the first game of a doubleheader Sunday afternoon at Dryden Park.
Schaneman went deep again in the nightcap but the Bearcats scored eight unanswered to win 11-9.
UNK’s first games at Dryden Park in two years resulted in 37 combined runs on 54 hits, 14 walks, two hit batters and two errors. The Lopers (12-22, 3-15) finished with six home runs and five doubles with Northwest (14-18, 8-12) at seven homers and four doubles.
Wood belted her second home run of the year in the bottom of the second to stake UNK to a 4-0 lead. The Lopers never trailed but the Bearcats scored three in the fifth and three in the sixth to tie things at seven.
Schaneman untied it with a two-run home run over the left-center fence.
Northwest got a solo homer with one down in the top of the seventh; however, junior Kelsey Goodban recorded a strikeout and pop up to earn her team-leading seventh win. Wood ended with four RBIs and Schaneman three with five Lopers having two hits apiece.
UNK erased a 3-0 deficit in Game 2 thanks to a four spot in its first at bat. Schaneman hit a two-out, two-run shot to center with the inning featuring six of the Lopers 12 hits.
Down 6-3 the Northwest scored two in the fourth, three in the fifth and three more in the sixth.
The Lopers had four multi-hit efforts, led by second baseman Kaylee Schutte, who was 3 for 4.
Saturday, the Lopers racked up 15 hits, including two home runs, to hold off Missouri Western State, 7-5, in the first game of a doubleheader at Hays, Kan.
The Griffons saw designated player Chloe Armstrong hit a grand slam and finish with seven RBIs to take the nightcap, 13-1.
UNK never trailed in the first game as they scored three in the second and three more in the third. Ten Lopers recorded a hit, including four with two. In the circle, senior Melissa Gellermann threw the first 3 1/3 innings with Goodban working the final three.
Abbie Jo Gaube led off the third with a home run and catcher Katie Gosker homered to start the fifth.
No. 13 Washburn tennis team wins dual with Lopers
KEARNEY — The 18th-ranked Washburn tennis team won the doubles points and took five singles matches Saturday afternoon to down the University of Nebraska at Kearney, 6-1.
The dual began outside at Harmon and, after a rain delay, was completed inside at the fairgrounds.
The Ichabods, ranked second in the Central Region, improve to 13-1 (5-1) while the Lopers fall to 4-12 (1-5).
UNK freshman Jazmin Zamorano picked up her team-leading eighth singles win, 6-3, 7-6 (3), over German sophomore Svea Crohn at the second spot in the lineup. Zamorano, a lefty, has won three in a row, each in straight sets.
Washburn allowed six combined points to take the doubles point and then won the other five singles matches in straight sets.
The Lopers finish the regular season with duals at Emporia State and Newman this weekend.