Nebraska Kearney 3, Fort Hays St. 0



KEARNEY, Neb. - Four players were in double figures in kills to lead the No. 1 Nebraska-Kearney volleyball team to a hard fought sweep of 12th-ranked Fort Hays State (-21, -29, -28) in the Southwest Region championship match Sunday afternoon at the Health & Sports Center.

With the victory, UNK (39-0) advances to the Elite Eight for the fourth time in school history and for the second straight year.

The win also ties the Lopers with the 1990 team for best start and longest win streak in a single season.

Hays ends the year at 31-5 with four of its setbacks coming to the Lopers. The other loss was to Cal State San Bernardino, the team UNK will play in the national quarterfinals in two weeks.

The Coyotes (27-3) are going to the Elite 8 for the second straight year as well. They beat No. 2 UC San Diego last night, 3-2, behind 45 kills from Brianna Harris.

The match was won at the end of the second game when Hays grabbed a 28-23 lead and was on the verge of ending UNKs 99-game home court win streak.

However, the Tigers were out of subs and caught in a lineup that was vulnerable in the middle. Three kills by junior middle Erin Gudmundson got the Lopers with in two but a Hays kill got the Tigers one point away from victory.

Gudmundsons fourth straight kill kept UNK alive and then junior middle Erin Brosz smashed home two kills to tie the match.

With Gudmundson serving, Hays followed with an attack error and then a kill by junior Samantha Harvey (Taylor) ended the improbable comeback.

The third game went down to the wire as well but UNK finally went ahead by two points, 26-24, after a Hays attack error.

However, the Tigers wouldnt die, getting within 29-28 after two UNK errors. However, Harvey struck again, sending a kill to the floor that gave UNK the region title.

Gudmundson led the Lopers with 19 kills and five blocks while Brosz had 13 kills and five stuffs. Senior outside hitter Erin Arnold (Casper, Wyo.) had 13 kills and nine digs while sophomore hitter Kelli Bunger (Grand Isladn) added 10 kills seven digs and two aces.

Also, sophomore libero Mikala Gleason (Holdrege) and junior setter Bethany Spilde (Council Bluffs, Ia.) tied for the team lead in digs with 12 a piece.

Senior middle Amber Zoglman led Hays with 16 kills and five blocks while sophomore outside Ashley Holt added 12 kills and four blocks.

--Courtesy Nebraska Kearney