DESPITE VALIANT EFFORT, UMES FALLS TO NEBRASKA 3-0 TO CLOSE OUT 28-WIN SEASON
Nov. 30, 2012
LINCOLN, Neb. -- The Hawks put together a strong match against 4-seed Nebraska in the NCAA First Round, but fell to the Cornhuskers in three sets (14-25, 10-25, 18-25) at the NU Coliseum, ending the greatest season in UMES history. UMES finishes the 2012 season at 28-6, while Nebraska goes to 24-6 and advances to the second round.
"Our main objective here was to come out and be competitive," said head coach Don Metil after the match at the press conference, "I think these ladies did their due diligence to make UMES proud today."
UMES finishes the year with 28 victories, the most ever in a single season. The year included three non-conference invitational championships, a second straight MEAC title and a berth in the NCAA Tournament.
"We've gone through a lot of adversity and this team has shown the ability to bounce back and fight to the very last point," says Metil, "We've lost some players to season-ending injuries. Through all of that, we were able to take Corey Haynes, who was a 6-3 setter, and played middle for us for the majority of the season. It's just things like that I'll remember and it all comes to an end here at Nebraska with a fantastic atmosphere and a supportive fan base, not only for the home team but maybe we gave them something from UMES that they appreciated as well."
The Hawks kept pace with their Big Ten opponent early, trading points and not allowing Nebraska to take a large early lead. Two early kills from Saitaua Iosia (Long Beach, Calif.) tied the set at 6-6 as the two sides exchanged points in the first 12 possessions. The Huskers took a small advantage after a Hayley Thramer kill and UMES attack error to go up 8-6. Again UMES kept close, pulling to within one after an Ndidi Ibe (North Richland Hills, Texas) kill made it 10-9. But off the serving of Morgan Broekhuis, the Big Red went on a 4-0 run to push ahead 14-9. UMES stopped the run on an Iosia kill, but the home team countered with three straight to go up 17-10. Despite some late UMES kills, the Hawks could not close the gap and fell in set one 25-14.
After a Maline Vaitai (Salt Lake City, Utah) kill tied the second set at 1-1, Nebraska went on a 4-0 run, capped by a Gina Mancuso service ace, to go up 5-1. Things did not get easier for UMES after a Victoria Williams (Los Angeles, Calif.) kill, as Lara Dykstra, contributing two aces, served through another 4-0 run for a 9-2 home team advantage. UMES struggled to get a footing in the game as Nebraska used runs of five and four later to go up 23-7. The Hawks go three points back in a row off a Williams kill and block, then an Iosia kill, but it was not enough as the Huskers won set two 25-10 to go up 2-0 in the match.
Again Nebraska started strong in the following set, winning nine of the first 13 points. UMES got two points back off a Hannah Werth service error and Iosia solo block on Meghan Haggerty to pull within three 9-6. After a Lauren Cook kill, UMES clawed back into the set. After a Haggerty service error, Williams earned a kill. Next point, Jessie Vicic (Cambridge, Ontario, Canada) earned her second dump kill of the set to pull UMES within one. A Mancuso attack error tied the set at 10 to complete a 4-0 UMES run, instilling Nebraska to call a timeout. The two sides exchanged points to tie it again at 11-11. The Cornhuskers countered with four straight points, capped by a kill, block and kill by Werth, to take a 15-11 lead, later going up 20-13. Kills by Ibe and Iosia gave points to UMES, but Nebraska got match point at 24-16. The Hawks defended match point twice off a Corey Haynes (Falls Church, Va.) combo block with Williams, followed by a Dykstra error, but a Mancuso kill ended it in favor of Nebraska 25-18, giving the Cornhuskers the match.
Iosia led the Hawks with eight kills, adding four digs and a block solo.
"It's a great feeling because they have such a big block for us to hit through them or off the block," said Iosia after the match, "It's a great feeling because they are a really great team."
Ibe, who finished her career with the Hawks after the match, earned five kills and a block. The all-time blocks leader in UMES history was complimentary of Nebraska after the match.
"They are pretty much a powerhouse team," Ibe said of the Cornhuskers, "They hit hard and they swing high. Coming from the MEAC, we obviously play shorter teams, so when you go up against Nebraska and players who are 6-3, 6-5, it's definitely interesting."
Williams earned six kills against Nebraska, leading UMES with two blocks.
"It's a great feeling because they put up a big block," said Williams after the match "The kills that we were able to get were really great."
Vicic finished with a team-best 19 assists and seven digs, adding two kills and the only UMES service ace of the match. Vaitai concluded with three kills and five digs, while Haynes had two assists and a block.
All 10 active UMES players contributed in the match on Thursday. Libero Jingqiao Li (Beijing, China) had five digs. Megan Mueller (Manchester, Mo.) had a pair of digs, while Elli Steiner (Hallwang, Austria) and Bridget Ebster-Schwarzenberger (St. Veiberstrabe, Austria) each served and added a dig.
For Nebraska, Mancuso hit .435 with 12 kills, an ace and seven digs. Werth nearly had a double double with 11 kills, hitting .667, eight digs, two blocks and three assists. Allison McNeal led the Huskers in blocks with three, adding a trio of kills.
Nebraska will host Northern Iowa, which defeated Kansas State earlier on Thursday, on Friday at 8 p.m. ET (7 p.m. CT) for a chance to advance to the regional round in Omaha.