OMAHA, Neb. – The Omaha volleyball team pulled off a gritty, five-set victory over UAlbany in the final match of the Omaha Challenge.
The Mavericks overcame a two-set deficit and defeated the Great Danes (23-25, 16-25, 25-23, 25-23, 15-5) to complete their second-straight sweep 3-0 in the Omaha Challenge.
- The last time Omaha overcame a two-set deficit for a victory was on Nov. 6 of last season at Western Illinois (20-25, 21-25, 25-16, 25-20, 15-4).
- Isabella Sade garnered Omaha Challenge MVP honors for the first time in her career with 58 kills on .226 hitting over the weekend. Claire Mountjoy and Anna Blaschko also earned all-tournament nods.
- Matt Buttermore is 2-0 in three-set matches and 1-0 in five-set matches.
- Omaha improves to 1-0 all-time against the Great Danes.
- The Mavericks are 6-0 in Omaha Challenge matches over the last two years.
- Jaclyn Taylor’s 52 assists marks her first-career 50-plus assist match.
INSIDE SET ONE
A slow start plagued Omaha in the early-going of the match. The Mavericks fell into a 13-8 hole on back-to-back kills by UAlbany. The Mavericks rallied with a 7-1 run and eventually led 18-16 after a kill by Rachel Fairbanks. The Great Danes, however, gathered a 4-0 run and led 23-20. Despite two-straight Omaha points on a UAlbany service error and a Blaschko kill, the Mavericks could not close the gap and fell 25-23 in the opening set.
INSIDE SET TWO
The Mavericks’ struggles continued over into the second set. A 6-0 run by the Great Danes put Omaha in a large deficit, 15-7. With that, UAlbany continued its momentum and took full control of the match with another 4-0 spurt that made it 19-8. Omaha went on to fall 25-16.
INSIDE SET THREE
A close third set fell in favor of the Mavericks behind a short spurt of runs. Omaha led by as many as three on multiple occasions, but the Great Danes kept hanging around. The Mavericks lead eventually increased to as many as five (18-13) after a kill by Rylee Marshall, but UAlbany eventually made it a 1-point game (22-21) late in the match. A kill by Blaschko on the ensuing play proved to be the turning point as the team saw its first point of the match happen on a pair of UAlbany attack errors.
INSIDE SET FOUR
With their back against the wall, Omaha refused to falter with another gutsy win in the fourth set. UAlbany opened with a 4-0 run to start the frame, but Omaha kept responding. Omaha eventually saw itself in a 3-point hole (13-10), but kills by Megan Woods and Blaschko, along with an attack error by the oppositions, evened it up. With the score tied at 22-all, Omaha turned to Sade. The junior from Marion, Iowa, notched three-straight kills to seal the set and force a fifth.
INSIDE SET FIVE
Omaha came out swinging and flustered the Great Danes with a 4-0 spurt to start the match. The lead eventually grew to 9-3 on an ace by Sade. Five straight points sparked by kills from Woods put Omaha ahead by 10 (14-4) with the match point in sight. Woods finished where she left off and recorded the winning kill to complete the comeback victory.
Omaha stays at home and welcomes the Kansas Jayhawks next Tuesday, Sept. 3, at 6:30 p.m. Live stats, audio and video will be available. For more information, visit OMavs.com.