Omaha came into the Summit League conference tournament as the 3 seed–a tremendous accomplishment considering that Denver (the no. 1 seed) had only lost one game heading into the tournament. In fact, the Pioneers would go on to earn an at-large bid to the NCAA volleyball tournament–a first not only for Denver, but also the entire Summit League.
Omaha also took inspiration from their regular season split against South Dakota, the no. 2 seed in the tournament. However, it was North Dakota State’s upset bid that ended Omaha’s best season since 2015.
After winning the first set, Omaha lost sets 2, 3 and 4 by margins of 2, 2 and 4 respectively. Omaha entered the conference tournament with a league record of 12-4, a mark tied with their 2015 campaign for best in Omaha’s D-I era.
North Dakota State took a large advantage in aces during the match, gaining seven of them to Omaha’s three. The statistics were very close in most other categories of the hard-fought game: Omaha led in kills with 54 to North Dakota State’s 50, Omaha led in points with 67 to 64. Omaha also led in blocks (10 to seven) and assists (51 to 45) but fell short in digs (54 to 51).
Sadie Limback led the young Omaha team with 15 kills, joined in double-digits by Claire Leonard (13) and Abby Bergsten (10). Kenzie Michalek managed two aces–a team high. Anna Blaschko led the team with six blocks and Sydney case posted a team-high of 48 assists in the match. Claire Mountjoy led the team with 13 digs.
Limback was a star for the Omaha team all year and for her efforts she was selected to join the 2018 All-Tournament team.
Limback, along with Case, Blaschko and Isabella Sade, earned all-conference honors over the regular season for their play. Case was selected as the Summit League Freshman of the Year and Limback joins her on the conference all-freshman team. Sade earned all-conference honors, while Blaschko earned an honorable mention.
Losing an upset match in a tournament will always be disappointing to anybody; however, Omaha has a bright future ahead of them. The team will lose only three seniors in the offseason and will retain all four students with all-conference honors this season.