Nebraska-Kearney wins RMAC title
Krolikowski had 11 kills and nine digs to lead winners
KEARNEY, Neb. -- The sixth-ranked Nebraska-Kearney volleyball team won a second consecutive RMAC Tournament title by sweeping 11th-ranked Metro State on Saturday night at the Health and Sports Center.
UNK (32-1) has won 19 consecutive matches, dating back to a 3-1 loss Sept. 23rd at Colorado Mines. The win streak is tied for eight best in school history.
Saturday's win marks the Lopers eighth RMAC tourney title. Besides 2010, Kearney also won in 2007, 2005, 2004, 1999, 1995 and 1994.
The NCAA tournament is up next. The 64-team field will be announced at 10 p.m. Sunday.
With Minnesota-Duluth losing a second consecutive match, it appears UNK will host the Central Regional Nov. 17-19 (Thurs.-Sat).
Beating the rival Roadrunners (24-6) for a third time this season, UNK managed a .250 attack percentage and used 9.0 team blocks to hold Metro at a .172 clip.
Tournament MVP Ariel Krolikowski had 11 kills and nine digs with all-tourney selection Ellie Pesavento having team-highs in kills (12) and attack percentage (.423).
She also had four blocks, as did junior setter Jenna Rouzee (GI Northwest) with sophomore middle Haley Lake (Lincoln SE) at a match-high five.
Rouzee was the third Loper selected All-RMAC Tournament as she handed out 28 assists along with five kills and four digs.
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The match was a tight one, especially over the final two sets. There were 21 ties and 10 lead changes on the night with Metro rallying from a 5-1 deficit in the second set to lead 21-19 after a kill by Emily Greenhalgh.
Using her jump serve, RMAC Player of the Year Bri Morley (match-high 17 kills) erased that early Loper lead by serving up six straight. After Greenhalgh's kill, Metro served one long and then Morley had an unforced error.
Another unforced Metro error gave UNK its first lead since 5-1. Two kills by Morley tied things at 22 and then again at 23 but Pesavento closed the door with back-to-back kills, the second finding the right corner of the court.
In the final set, Jullie Casseaux had two straight kills to help Metro tie things up at 19. However, the 'Runners had three consecutive unforced hitting errors to give the momentum right back to UNK.
Kills by Pesavento, Rouzee and an ace from sophomore outside Ashley Leitner finished the match.
Besides Morely, Metro got 11 kills from Greenhalgh and 22 digs from RMAC Defensive Player of the Year Ngoc Phan.