OMAHA, Neb. — The Omaha volleyball team opened Summit League play Friday evening, falling 3-2 (25-19, 20-25, 19-25, 25-22, 13-15) to Fort Wayne at Baxter Arena. The Mavericks are now 3-12 (0-1) on the season, while the Mastodons improve to 5-9 (1-0).
Sophomore outside hitter Kayla Torson and junior setter Sydney O’Shaughnessy both notched their team-leading sixth double-doubles of the year, with Torson posting a team-high 18 kills with 13 digs and O’Shaughnessy putting up 49 assists and 23 digs.
Senior outside hitter Elise Brown also tallied her second double-figure dig performance of the season, finishing with 11 kills. Defensively, freshman setter Hannah Angeli had a career-high and team-best 28 digs, while freshman libero Ashley Smith had 17 and freshman defensive specialist Olivia Spanton had another 11.
At the net, junior middle blocker Amanda Conlin posted a match-high three blocks, while Angeli and senior rightside hitter Nicki Carson each had two.
Fort Wayne was led by Nicole Rightnowar’s double-double on a match-leading 25 kills with 14 digs. Somer Johnson and Lauren Hoffman also had double-figure kill efforts with 19 and 10, respectively, and Madison Jaqua finished with 60 assists in leading the Mastodon offense. Olivia Hahn added a match-high 48 digs for the night.
Omaha led the majority of the opening set, breaking through a 3-3 tie with a 7-1 run for a 10-4 lead. From there, the Mavericks built a 19-12 advantage after capitalizing with three straight Fort Wayne errors and a kill by freshman middle hitter Daria Taylor. Another Taylor kill later matched Omaha’s largest lead of the set at 22-15. After three straight kills by Rightnowar and Hoffman pulled Fort Wayne within four at 23-19, Omaha elected to take a timeout. A Mastodon setting error and an O’Shaughnessy finished it off, giving the Mavericks the set win at 25-19.
Fort Wayne came back in the second set, moving past an early 2-2 lock to shoot ahead 10-4, helped by three straight kills from Johnson and Natalie Seiler. The Mastodons never relinquished the lead, going up 20-10 before Omaha rallied. The Mavericks managed to pull within four, as back-to-back Conlin kills and an O’Shaughnessy ace made it 24-20, but a final kill by Jaqua put it away for Fort Wayne, 25-20.
Game three saw five ties to start before the Mastodons seized a 12-6 lead. Omaha trimmed the margin to two by 13-11 with kills by Carson, Elise Brown and Ellie Brown as well as a Fort Wayne setting error. The Mavericks again made it a two-point game at 20-18 with a 4-0 run fueled by a pairs of Carson kills, as well as a block assist from her and Ellie Brown. Following a Fort Wayne timeout, the Mastodons went on a 6-1 run to cap the set 25-19 and take a 2-1 lead in the match.
Omaha and Fort Wayne battled each other early in game four with ties at 2-2 and 4-4 before the Mavericks took a 7-4 advantage for its largest lead of the set. Fort Wayne then grabbed its first lead at 9-8, thanks to back-to-back kills from Rightnowar. Omaha overcame multiple multi-point deficits to regain the lead at 19-18. The Mavericks never backed down, as redshirt freshman Meagen Roth, Torson and Conlin each had kills in the final points to give Omaha the set at 25-22 and knot the match at two sets apiece.
The fifth set was another battle, as Omaha rallied from a 12-8 deficit to knot the score at 13-13, courtesy of back-to-back kills by Conlin and Roth. Fort Wayne, however, capped the match with a kill from Rightnowar and a block by Natasha Medic to take the set at 15-13 and the match at 3-2.
Omaha returns to action on Saturday, Sept. 24, hosting Denver at Baxter Arena at 5 p.m. Links to live stats, audio and video will be available on OMavs.com.