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Loper fans out in force for RMAC
Clayton Kush
Antelope Staff
Photo by Garrett Ritonya
Fans cheer wildly for their Lady Lopers, who will face No. 17 Minnesota-Duluth Thursday in St. Paul, Minn.

What’s big, blue, loud and always rowdy? The crowd cheering on the volleyball team at UNK home games of course.

This past weekend the Lopers were fortunate enough to host the RMAC tournament here at UNK and play the entire weekend in front of those crazy fans. From Nov. 12-14 volleyball fans here in central Nebraska were treated to the most talented setters, outside hitters and liberos the RMAC Conference had to offer.

The tournament was held at the Health and Sports Center at UNK for a second straight season because the Lopers finished at the top of the RMAC Conference in the regular season with a record of 33-1.  In last year’s tournament, the Lopers came in as the top seed and were upset by Adams State in the quarterfinals.

The coaches, fans and players knew that they had a lot to prove and were excited to have the games at home, especially outside hitter Erica Burson, a senior from Gretna majoring in journalism advertising

“The fact that we get to play the tournament on our home court is inexplicable. The attendance that we receive is out of this world, and teams coming into the Health and Sports Center aren’t used to the energy our crowd brings,” Burson said.

That energy from the crowd was in full force this weekend as the Lopers powered into the finals on Saturday with wins over Western New Mexico in the first round and Colorado School of Mines on Friday in front of an electric Loper crowd of nearly 1,100 fans.

Although the Lopers fell to a tough Metro State team in five sets during the championship game, Loper players like Burson are still appreciative of the support they received this past weekend. “Our crowd is what every team hopes for. They are into every game whether we just won or lost a good rally,” Burson said.

For the seniors like Burson who played their last games at home this weekend, they will always have the memories of playing big games in front of huge home crowds and the confidence that gave them. “The thing I will remember about playing at home is the love. When you walk out onto the floor and you hear thousands of people cheering for your team, you can’t help but be confident,” Burson said.

With a second place finish in the RMAC Tournament, the Loper  volleyball squad remains hungry to accomplish their remaining goals and keep their eyes on the big prize, which is a Division II championship.

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