Maverick Volleyball falls short in Denver


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Andrew Nelson

The Omaha volleyball team began conference play last weekend, losing a pair of matches to Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne and Denver University at Baxter Arena.

Just like the Mavericks first matchup at home against IPFW in 2015, they lost a tight one in five sets Sept. 23., 2-3.

Sept. 24, The Mavericks had their first chance this season to avenge a 2-3 loss in the Summit League Tournament championship game against Denver. After winning the first set, the Mavs dropped the next three to lose 1-3.

Omaha used a 7-1 run in the first set to take an early 12-4 lead and later set to get things off on the right foot. IPFW countered in the second set to take a 12-4 lead and went on to tie the match at a game apiece. IPFW used a 6-1 run late with the score 19-18 in favor of the Mastodons to take the third set and match lead. Omaha came back a few times in the fourth set from multipoint deficits to take a 19-18 lead and later tied the match 2-2. The Mavericks rallied in the fifth deciding set to tie it 13 all, but the Mastodons used a kill and block to take the set 15-13, and the match 3-2.

Kayla Torson and Sydney O’Shaughnessy each earned their sixth double-double performance of the season. Outside hitter Torson had 18 kills and 13 digs while O’Shaughnessy had 49 assists and 23 digs. The Mavericks were led in digs by freshmen setter Hannah Angeli who had 28.

The Mavs came out swinging in Saturday’s match against the Summit League’s No. 1 preseason pick the Pioneers of Denver. The first set was a fight that featured the lead change three times and tie nine different times. The set tied at 20-20, and tied four times, the fourth being at 25-25. Torson and senior outside hitter Elise Brown had kills to seal it 27-25.

The next two sets were all Denver as the Pioneers never trailed in either set to take the match lead 2-1 with set wins of 25-14 and 25-20. Omaha woke up in a fourth set that saw 17 ties between the two rival squads and seven lead changes. Omaha had the chance for match-point twice in the final points of the match off of DU errors, but errors of the Mavericks own diminished their chances. After a 25-25 tie, a Denver kill and Omaha attack error finished the match in the Pioneers favor, 3-1.

Angeli had her third double-double performance of the season with 14 kills and 18 digs as well as a pair of blocks. O’Shaughnessy had her seventh double-double with 34 assists and 18 digs. The performance was her 50th double-double of her career.

Something the Mavs have lacked over the course of the season is their blocking, but Saturday they out-blocked the Pioneers 8-5, but the story of the match was Denver outhitting the Mavs .265 to .099.

Omaha (3-13, 0-2) will continue their Summit League schedule this weekend. The Mavs will hit the road for a match 7 p.m. Sept. 30. in Brookings, South Dakota against South Dakota State University and Oct. 1. in Tulsa, Oklahoma at 1 p.m. against Oral Roberts.