By Andrew Nelson, Contributor
Last weekend the Omaha Mavericks volleyball team kicked off the 2014 campaign hosting the DoubleTree Suites by Hilton Omaha Classic. The season started out with a bang Friday night as Omaha won their home opener over Central Michigan in four sets 3-1 by scores of 25-18, 25-21 and 25-14.
Kelley Wollak led the Mavericks in kills with 11, while also adding an assist and 10 digs. Team Captain and Junior Libero Kimberly Bailey also assisted the Mavs with 12 digs and 4 assists in the win. Michaela Schimmer and Megan Schmale combined for 13 block assists in the matchup, with Schmale adding two solo blocks of her own as well.
Freshmen Mackenzie Horkey and Sydney O’Shaughnessy had break-out games in their first home appearances as Mavericks. The high school all-American duo combined for 16 digs, 11 of those belonging to Horkey. Omaha native O’Shaughnessy also led the team with 19 assists.
“I think the key to today’s win is what I think we do best, and that’s be good in our transition game and be aggressive defensively.” Omaha’s winningest head volleyball coach Rose Shires shared insight on Friday’s opening win.
“These are very even matches, all the teams here are evenly matched. It’s a good challenge early in the season and I like what I saw out of my players today. I think if we play like we did today we’ll be very successful this season.”
Unfourtainatly Saturday was a different case for the Mavs, they went on to drop two 3-2 matches to the University of Missouri – Kansas City and Drake. However, the matches were both competitive, and one player continued her dominance from Friday night. Kelley Wollak showed up Saturday and produced two double doubles.
Wollak had 17 kills and a career high 31 digs in the opener Saturday afternoon against the Bulldogs from Drake. She followed that up with a 21 kills in the match against UMKC. Two other Mavericks also had double doubles in the match against the Roos.
Machaela Schimmer and Sydney O’Shaughnessy also had two double doubles in both matches Saturday. O’Shaughnessy finished the second match with 23 assists and 15 digs. Schimmer helped the Mavs with 20 assists, 19 digs, six blocks, and five kills. Freshman Mackenzie Horkey also had a double in the second match with 12 kills and 11 digs.
“It feels really good to start off like this. It feels like all the hard work we put in during the spring, and all the extra hours we put in the summer are finally paying off. We’ve practiced for three weeks now and haven’t seen another team come in and almost no competition, so taking the first one is an awesome feeling for us to hold our heads high,” Wollak said.
The Mavs return to action next week in Ames, Iowa for a tough competition against Northern Illinois, Tennessee and Iowa State. The Mavericks put a very competitive team on the court this past weekend, and it will be exciting to see how they bounce back this weekend facing some stiff competition