It’s always hard to know what to expect from University of Nebraska Omaha (UNO) athletics in a given year.
Maybe one year the baseball team will defy preseason expectations and go on to clinch its first ever Summit League Conference Tournament title.
Maybe another year, the women’s soccer team will go on an awe-inspiring end-of-season run and play in the postseason for the first time in the Division I era.
Or, maybe a Maverick track star will shatter school records and end her UNO career as an All-American.
While you just never know what will end up happening when you follow Omaha athletics, it can still be fun to guess about what’s up ahead. So, here’s three predictions of what could be expected of Omaha athletics this season:
1. Two or more teams from Omaha will go dancing
Last year, four Omaha teams (men’s and women’s soccer, men’s basketball and baseball) played in the finals of their Summit League tournaments. Of those four teams, only baseball punched their ticket to play in the NCAA tournament.
This year, all four of those teams look like they could be set to challenge for the Summit League crown again this year. For the three teams that did lose in the finals, expect those losses to motivate them even more for this season. With the added motivation to succeed, this really could prove to be a breakout year for Maverick athletics. So, when all is said and done, expect to see the name “Omaha” popping up in more than one NCAA tournament this season.
2. Hockey finds a return to form
For a program that is arguably the flagship of Omaha athletics, the hockey team has struggled to find success in recent years. The team hasn’t had a winning record since the 2015-16 season, when they finished 18-17-1. Last season, the team didn’t achieve double-digit wins, as they finished the season with a record of 9-24-3.
This season, things could be quite different. Head coach Mike Gabinet will be in charge of the team for his third year, which means he should have three-years-worth of players that he recruited on his team. Whatever vision Gabinet has for Omaha hockey, this could be the year that it comes to fruition. It won’t be easy, as the team plays in the National Collegiate Hockey Conference, which is considered to be the toughest in the country, but this very well could be the year that Gabinet and Maverick hockey take that big step forward.
3.The All-Time Leading Goal scorer record for UNO men’s soccer Falls
Omaha soccer legend Vance Rockwood scored 19 goals in his career at UNO. As one of the first signees for Omaha’s soccer team in 2011, Rockwood was one of the players upon whose back the program was built. Since graduating in 2014, one of the legacies he left behind – his goal scoring record – still remains untouched.
This year though, things could change. Junior Diego Gutierrez currently has nine career goals for the Mavericks. Going into this season, Gutierrez looks to be the focus point of the Omaha offense, much as he was last year when he bagged seven goals. So, with a possibly even bigger season this year, Gutierrez is just 11 goals away from breaking the record, which may not be an unrealistic mark for the dynamic goal scorer. Even if he doesn’t get it this year, it seems more than likely that Gutierrez will get the crown by the time he graduates from Omaha.