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Loper volleyball continues hot streak late into season
Matthew Iberg
Antelope Staff
Photo by A Sanam Bhaila
Chelsie Carson, a junior outside hitter from Omaha, prepares to slam home a point against Metro State this past Sunday. The Lopers swept the No. 21 Roadrunners to extend their winning streak to 19 games and move to 25-1 on the year, 15-0 in the RMAC.

It doesn’t seem to matter who the Loper volleyball team plays.

The Lopers (25-1, 15-0 RMAC) are in sole possession of first place in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference and ranked fifth nationally.

After traveling out of town four of the last five weeks for conference play, winning on the road is something that this team has found ways to do. They have won 11 straight conference games on the road dating back to last season.

Freshman defensive specialist Kaleigh Anderson from Lincoln, led the Lincoln Southwest Silver Hawks to a third place finish in Class A and led the team with 598 digs, a single-season school record.

“We’ve been successful on the road and at home,” Anderson said. “We need to continue working hard everyday at practice because when we come back from road trips, we’re tired. Practices get hard and grueling.”

Anderson is just one of many who provide depth on the team.

“We have a lot of people that can contribute in many different areas if we need them to,” sophomore Markeya Dubbs of Wood River said. “If we’re having some difficulties in a game, the next person is always ready to step in and do their part to help the team.”

Depth isn’t the only thing helping the Lopers succeed.

If statistics can indicate anything, this is one of the most efficient offenses in school history. The Lopers are hitting a team average of .293, which ranks third in the record books. This year, the Lopers rank in the top five in the nation in both hitting percentage and kills per set.

Led by the team’s middle hitters, senior Nikki Scott of Broken Bow and junior Jeri Walkowiak of Grand Island are both among the top 25 in hitting percentage in the nation. In addition, Scott and Walkowiak are both in the top five in the conference. With junior, Grand Island native Kelsey Werner and senior Gretna native Erica Burson both in the top 10, it’s easy to see why the Lopers lead the RMAC in hitting percentage by more than .05.

The offense continues to roll with junior setter Cola Svec of Elkhorn moving the ball from antenna to antenna effectively and efficiently. Svec is ranked first in the RMAC and sixth in the nation in assists per set, averaging 11.76.

Defensively, junior Katlyn Heiserman from Manchester, Iowa, is ranked fourth in the RMAC in digs, averaging 4.12 digs per set.

Strong serving has enabled the team to keep teams' offenses out of system. This has led the Lopers to hold their opponents to a .108 hitting percentage, which leads the RMAC.

The Lopers are doing many things right and are on the right path to the post season.

What can the team do better down the stretch?

“Clean up the little things,” Heiserman said. “Make smart plays and continue to put pressure on opponents while serving will allow us to stay competitive and achieve our team goals.”


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