For obvious reasons, 2020 has been a difficult year.
As the year approaches an end, however, it’s important to remember that not everything that happened in the past 366 days was so terrible.
This is especially true for Omaha Maverick sports, where a lot of not terrible things happened this year. Many of the Mavericks achievements in the past calendar year were actually quite remarkable.
So, amidst all the darkness and negativity that can be present at times, it’s worth revisiting some of UNO athletics’ best moments in 2020
Omaha senior KJ Robinson and JT Gibson go out with a bang
For almost half a decade, KJ Robinson and JT Gibson were ever-present fixtures for the Omaha men’s basketball team. The two played their first game together in the 2016-17 season and in the next four seasons, and established themselves as the 40th and 41st 1000 point scorers in UNO men’s basketball history.
Their last game at home came on Feb. 26 against North Dakota. Both players seemed eager to ensure that their last game in Baxter Arena was one to remember as Robinson put up 12 points while Gibson had 15. Robinson’s points were particularly clutch as he hit a game-tying three to send the game into overtime, and then hit a game-winner in the paint to give the Mavericks an important 84-83 win.
Hockey upsets North Dakota at home
If Omaha basketball’s win against North Dakota was special because of the senior leadership, then Omaha hockey’s win was notable because of their youth. When the Maverick’s rivals from the north came to visit, they were ranked No. 2 in the nation. Between these two teams though, rankings hardly ever matter.
Omaha starting goalkeeper Isaiah Saville went down early in the game after a controversial hit from a North Dakota player. Rallying around their injured goalkeeper, the Mavericks engineered a 4-1 upset win, with two of the goals coming from freshman. Kirby Proctor and Ryan Brushett both got on the score sheet with a goal apiece. Junior Nate Knopeke and Senior Zach Jordan helped round out the upset as both scored a goal of their own.
Omaha Baseball Paints the City Red
The 2020 UNO baseball season will go down as one of the greatest “What-ifs” in UNO sports history. Before the season was cancelled due to COVID, the Mavericks were off to their best start in the DI era with a record of 10-4. It was the tenth win that proved to be the biggest.
The Omaha baseball team often finds itself out of luck when playing Creighton. The last Maverick win in the series before March 7 came in 2014. That changed when the two teams met at TD Ameritrade Park. Not knowing that a season cancelation was to come, Omaha ripped eight runs past the Bluejays to pick up a statement 8-1 win.
UNO women’s basketball hires Carrie Banks
New coaching hires are almost always exciting. Perhaps no coaching hire in the past few years for UNO has garnered as much excitement as the arrival of Carrie Banks to the women’s basketball team. One factor that makes Banks so notable is the Power For the past four years, Banks has been an assistant coach at Ohio State. There, she was an instrumental piece of the Buckeyes’ success as they won two regular season championships. Banks will look to recreate that success with the Mavericks, who haven’t won a game in the Summit League tournament since 2017.