Volleyball caps off strong spring

Photo courtesy of Omavs
Freshman Bella Sade (above) won the Summit League Freshman of the Year award last year.

Erik Mauro

After a rough 2017 season, the Omaha Maverick Volleyball team kicked off their spring schedule two weeks ago. They traveled for the first few weeks and finally returned home last Thursday, facing South Dakota in a Summit League preview. They needed a little home-cookin’ as the Mavs took the match 3-1. Omaha concludes the home schedule against Drake this Saturday at the Sapp Fieldhouse. The match starts at 1 p.m.

South Dakota had a fine season last year, posting a 17-11 record with a 10-4 conference record. They beat Fort Wayne in the conference tournament before being eliminated by Oral Roberts. The ‘Yotes swept the Mavs in both matches last year. Did Omaha do a little foreshadowing for this upcoming season, perhaps? Both teams split the first two sets by scores of 25-21 and 21-25. The Mavericks would then win the next two sets with relative ease to take the match.

On the other side, last season the Mavericks limped to just a 10-18 season but fared better in Summit League play at 7-7 before being eliminated by North Dakota State. Part of the struggles were because of such a young roster. The Mavs only had two seniors and two juniors which is an encouraging sign for a better season in 2018.

The Mavs return their four leading killers from last season along with their two leading blockers, another sign for optimism this fall. The Mavs added two transfers this offseason. Junior libero Courtney Morehead comes from Drake and sophomore setter Jaclyn Taylor from Creighton. A third transfer, Claire Leonard, will join the program from Canisius College in New York.

Coach Rose Shires will enter her 28th season as head coach this fall. Shires already holds the school record for the most wins, is just 17 wins away from 500 in her career and may very well reach it.