UNO looks to gain traction in the Summit League standings this weekend, as North Dakota State and South Dakota State come to Sapp Fieldhouse for matches.
Both of the Mavericks’ opponents have struggled even more than UNO in posting victories, but that doesn’t make these matches more must-win affairs than others, coach Rose Shires said.
“For us, every weekend, I don’t care who we’re playing, it’s important for us to play with the mindset of going after the win,” Shires said. “We happen to be playing teams with similar records, although North Dakota State’s record, in particular, is very deceiving because of its schedule. And South Dakota State is in a similar position to us, with a lot of youth and new players in the program.”
North Dakota State (1-15 overall, 1-2 Summit) plays the Mavericks at 7 p.m. Friday. The only Bison win came over South Dakota State.
The Jackrabbits (2-14, 0-3), who play Friday at Western Illinois, face UNO at 2 p.m. Sunday.
UNO is 5-13 overall and 0-3 in the Summit.
“When we are winning sets and competing to win sets, those are opportunities for us to win the match,” Shires said. “And it’s really a matter of reaching a tipping point and coming through with the win when the match is close.”
North Dakota State, which beat the Jackrabbits in four sets, is led by freshman Emily Minnick, fourth in the Summit with a .297 hitting percentage, and freshman setter Monica Claxton, fifth in the league with 9.9 assists per set.
Wagner Larson, a 6-foot-2 sophomore middle blocker, leads South Dakota State with 3.0 kills per set, 0.8 blocks per set and a .267 hitting percentage.
The Mavs are second in the league in blocks (2.5 per set). The Mavs’ Megan Schmale leads the Summit and ranks 22nd nationally with 1.3 blocks per set. She’s also fifth in the Summit with a .288 hitting percentage.
“We’re doing some really good things,” Shires said.
MAV NOTES: Friday is a Susan G. Komen Night, with fans encouraged to wear pink to support breast cancer awareness and education. … UNO is playing a Friday-Sunday home schedule by conference rule, since the Mavs and travel partner Western Illinois are more than 350 miles apart. Summit League matches less than 350 miles away can be played on back-to-back nights.