UNO Sweeps the Omaha Invitational

Baxter Arena, home to UNO volleyball, hosted the Omaha Challenge one and a half weeks ago. Photo courtesy UNO Communications.

Rebecca Weis

If you were to step in Baxter Arena on Sept. 1st and watch the Omaha women’s volleyball team, you would have seen a completely different team than the one who played in the New Orleans Tournament. The Omaha Mavericks took home first place in the Omaha Challenge this past weekend.

This win marks the 10th time the Mavericks have gone undefeated in a home tournament. Even in their warm-ups, they seemed very energetic and it looked like they came ready to play.

“What happened last weekend was we played passive and scared,” said Coach Shires. “We didn’t play like what people saw this weekend. How we played this weekend is how it’s been in training.”

The Omaha Mavericks’ first win was with a clean sweep of the UTEP Miners, 3-0. In the first set, the Mavericks started off with a 5-0-point lead. The Mavericks never relinquished it and claimed the victory, leading the set at one point 19-7.

The Minors were not ready to back down as both teams battled at the start of the second set. After a 5-0 run, the Mavericks led 15-9, but the Miners refused to give up and took six straight points to cut Omaha’s lead into just two. Mackenzie Horkey finished with a kill to seal the set win.

In the third and final set, the UTEP Miners came out strong with a lead of 4-1 over Omaha. After the Mavericks trailed 10-9, they scored four consecutive points to lead them back to 13-10 and continued with two straight kills by Anna Blaschko. The Mavs never gave up their lead and took the match to win the tournament 3-0.

Blaschko was one of the heavy hitters for the Mavericks during this tournament. Blaschko achieved a team best of 15 kills and helped secure the Mavericks win in the last set.

“Personally, I try to stay a lot more relaxed,” Blaschko said. “The last tournament we really didn’t come with the fire we wanted. This time we all came super relaxed and we came to have fun.”

Compared to last week at the New Orleans tournament, the Omaha Mavericks seemed ready to play, and compete this time around. Having the majority of the team made up of new players, they can seem a little timid. This week the Mavericks came back and played like they knew they could.

“This week was a chance for the team to prove it to themselves that they could play at that level and they could get after it,” Shires said.

“We weren’t sure where the season was going to go after the tournament last weekend,” Blaschko said. “This definitely gives us reassurance that yes, we are the team we thought we were.”

The Mavericks travelled to Manhattan, Kansas to compete in the K-State Invitational this past weekend. At time of publication, Omaha was 1-1 on the tourney heading into their Saturday evening match against Kansas State. The team will take part in the CEFCU Classic before opening Summit League play against South Dakota State in Brookings, South Dakota on Friday, Sept. 21st.