Colorado Mines stuns Neb.-Kearney
Orediggers defeat top-seeded Lopers for second time
KEARNEY, Neb. -- No. 4 Nebraska-Kearney saw its 2011 season come to an end on Thursday as the Lopers fell in five sets to Colorado Mines in an NCAA tournament first-round match.
For the second time this year, the Orediggers (19-10) managed to beat the Lopers (32-2) as junior outside Jackie Stabell recorded 29 kills, 15 digs and a block.
Winning an NCAA match for the first time in four tries, and picking up a victory in Kearney for the first time in five years, Mines stopped a two-match losing streak by scores of 26-24, 25-21, 25-27, 20-25, 15-11.
On Sept. 23, the Orediggers beat the Lopers in four sets to hand UNK its only loss of the regular season. Twelve days ago, the Lopers swept Mines in Kearney (25-13, 25-21, 25-15).
Stabell had 10 kills in that loss, but was part of an offense that stayed in system and rhythm and produced 74 kills in 203 attempts (.227 attack pct.). By way of comparison, UNK had only 58 kills in 174 attempts (.230 attack pct.).
The Diggers also out dug the Lopers 89-76 and served tough throughout the match.
After being down 2-0, Kearney not only tied things up at two, but led 2-0 in the fifth set. However, Mines scored 10 of the next 13 points to open up an insurmountable lead. This run featured three team blocks and two kills from Stabell.
UNK did make one last push, getting within a 12-10 score after a solo block by sophomore outside Ashley Leitner. However, Stabell recorded two more kills, the last one ending the match.
Early on, she recorded back-to-back kills in the first set to erase a 25-24 Loper lead. Mines had led 21-11 before UNK stormed back to take that brief lead.
The Diggers returned the favor in set two as they rallied from a 17-13 deficit to win by four. UNK then trailed 25-24 in the third set before scoring the last three points, two on unforced Mines errors. Finally, UNK led the fourth set from start to finish.
A first-team All-RMAC pick, Stabell reached her kill total in 51 swings and committed only five errors (.471 attack pct.).
Three other Diggers were in double digits in kills in sophomore middle Melanie Wannamaker (18), freshman outside Sarah Pekarek (11) and juniir middle Holly Hutchison (10).
Pekarek (14 digs) joined Stabell in the double-double club with senior setter Amanda Massey at 69 assists, 15 digs, four blocks and two kills.
For UNK, sophomore middle Ellie Pesavento had a career-high 17 kills and hit .421 while providing thee blocks on defense. Leitner (14), playing on a bum ankle, was the only other Loper in double figures in kills.
In her final collegiate match, senior DS Shelby Workman had a team-high 20 digs.