Nebraska-Kearney 3, Truman State
Nebraska-Kearney 3, Truman State 1Dec. 1, 2005
Kearney, Neb. -- Senior middle hitter Erin Gudmundson had a career-high 27 kills to lead the No. 1 ranked Nebraska-Kearney volleyball team to a thrilling 3-1 win over 4th-ranked Truman State of Missouri (-25, -28, 30-32, -27) Thursday night in a national quarterfinal match.
The final two matches of the day broke the NCAA Division II record for attendance (3,520/Nebraska-Omaha at UNK, 1996). A crowd of 3,873 watched Cal State L.A. rally for a 3-2 win over Lock Haven of Pennsylvania in the third quarterfinal match.
The Lopers (37-1) and Bulldogs (32-6) then topped that mark as 4,412 packed the Health & Sports Center late tonight.
UNK advances to the national semifinals for the second straight year. It will play CSULA (28-2) tomorrow at 7:30 p.m. The first match will be between Grand Valley State of Michigan (30-6) and Tampa (29-3) and start at 5:00 p.m.
The Lopers had revenge on its mind tonight as the Bulldogs handed UNK its only loss last year, a 3-0 sweep in the national semifinals.
UNK was poised to return the favor as it led 2-0 in the match and held a 25-20 lead in the third set. However, TSU went on a 9-3 run, stringing together three kills to grab a 29-28 lead.
After the Lopers fought off game point, they failed to end the match as a Tiffany Graham kill tied things at 30.
A Loper attack error and a kill by All-American Sarah Sherman (30 digs, 12 kills) gave the 'Dawgs the set and new life in the match.
Truman then jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the game four, thanks to two service aces by All-American Kelsey Wackerman (12 kills, nine digs, three blocks).
UNK quickly came back and the game went back and forth until it was tied at 24 all. Gudmundson's final kill of the night started a 5-0 that included back to back kills by All-American Erin Brosz.
TSU refused to go quietly, scoring two points to get within three. UNK finally secured the match with a kill by Brosz (15 kills, three blocks, .294 attack percentage).
"In that fourth game, I sat back and entrusted our players would do the right thing. We have a very experienced team and they know what to do," said UNK head coach Rick Squiers. "Big players make big plays and that's what Erin did tonight."
Senior setter Rachel Gerdes (61 assists, 14 digs, five kills) said the crowd was a factor in the victory too.
"You could almost feel the building shaking after we came out of our timeout in game four. The crowd gave us a big boost tonight."
Truman had 11 more digs (114-103), two more team blocks (11-9), and two more aces (5-3) then the Lopers, but UNK out hit the 'Dawgs, .215 to .182.
Gudmundson, who was named AVCA National Player of the Year last night, recorded her career-best in kills in 56 swings. She had just six errors for a .356 attack percentage.
"I felt a little pressure after receiving the award last night but once I heard that first whistle, all that goes away and its time to play," she said.
Her previous high in kills (24) came this year a 3-1 loss to Seattle Pacific. Three players -- Miranda Rhodes (2001), Kelli Brummer (1999) and Jodi Armknecht (1997) -- share the Loper record at 28.
Also for Truman, libero Whitney Boehler had a match-high 32 digs, Melissa Keck had a team-high 13 kills and Micaela Walter had eight blocks, eight kills and 11 digs.
For UNK, outside hitters Kelli Bunger and Ashley Solt combined for 23 kills and 25 digs and freshman libero Jill Gergen had a team-best 20 digs.
-- Courtesy Neb.-Kearney