No. 6-ranked Nebraska-Kearney beats Mountain Lions

By Doug Fitzgerald published November 4, 2011

KEARNEY, Neb. - Laura Loosbrock's 10 kills weren't enough to overcome the No. 6-ranked team in the nation as the University of Colorado Colorado Springs fell 3-0 (25-12, 25-22, 25-14) to the Nebraska-Kearney Lopers Friday evening.

In losing at Kearney, the Mountain Lions are good company. The Lopers are now 15-0 at the Health and Sports Center this season, winning 45 of the 47 sets played. UNK has won 19 in a row at home overall and are 48-3 there over the past three seasons.

With the loss, what could have been a delicious irony became unlikely at best. UCCS came into Friday's match eliminated from the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference playoffs but also ranked ninth in the NCAA's Central Region. A win over Nebraska-Kearney might have provided just the kind of quality win to boost the Mountain Lions into the top eighth. That would have meant that UCCS would have not qualified for the RMAC Tournament but would have qualified for the NCAA Tournament.

A big part of UCCS' regional ranking has been its strength of schedule. Friday's match was the Mountain Lions' eighth against a nationally-ranked opponent.

Ariel Krolikowski led UNK (28-1, 16-1 RMAC) with 12 kills and 12 digs, one of five Lopers with double-digit digs. Haley Lake and Ashley Leitner each added nine kills.

Nikki Kinzer added seven kills and six blocks for UCCS (15-12, 9-8 RMAC). Alex Wood had a match-high 17 digs and Cindy Bathelt had 24 assists.

UNK took control of the first set with a 16-4 run that put the Lopers up 20-9. The third set also saw UNK put on a period of dominance as it closed with a 12-4 run.

Between those two was a back-and-forth second set during which neither team led by more than four. A four-point UCCS run, including two kills by Loosbrock, had the set tied at 21. After the Lopers scored three straight, a block by Kinzer and Wood allowed the Mountain Lions to fight off one set point, but it was followed by a service error that gave UNK the 25-22 win.

The Mountain Lions will conclude their season Saturday with a match at Chadron State.

UCCS Players/Staff Featured

Cindy BatheltCindy Bathelt16S
Cindy BatheltCindy Bathelt16S
Cindy BatheltCindy Bathelt16S
Alex WoodAlex Wood13RSFr
Alex WoodAlex Wood13RSSo
Alex WoodAlex Wood13RSJr
Alex WoodAlex Wood13RSSr
Nikki KinzerNikki Kinzer2MBSr
Nikki KinzerNikki Kinzer2MB
Nikki KinzerNikki Kinzer2MB
Laura LoosbrockLaura Loosbrock10OH/OPP
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