OMAHA, Neb. - The Drake University volleyball team won a five-set thriller, 3-2, over the Nebraska Omaha Mavericks Friday night in Omaha, Neb. Four players tallied double figures in kills for the Bulldogs to help win their first match of the season.
Bentley Mancini (Burnsville, Minn.) and Amanda Platte (Mount Vernon, Iowa) led Drake (1-11, 0-2 MVC) attack with 12 kills each. Platte added eight digs and four blocks. Jadranka Tramosljanin (Ruma, Serbia) had a double-double with 11 kills and 19 digs. Cassie Effken (Lincoln, Neb.) added 10 kills including the final kill of the night to give the Bulldogs the win. She added five blocks.
The fifth set was back-and-forth early, until the Bulldogs trailed, 12-10, and were forced to take a timeout. Out of the timeout the Bulldogs scored four-straight points to force a UNO (5-8, 0-2 Summit) timeout at 14-12. A kill by UNO's Natalie Ebke cut the Bulldogs lead to 14-13 before Effken's kill ended the match.
"We showed our resiliency tonight and had a little more at the end to finish off some tough sets," head coach Tony Sunga said. We had some great blocks and digs and played at the necessary level we needed to at key moments of the match. We came out of the timeout late in the fifth and stayed calm and did what we wanted to do. The win was a team effort tonight."
UNO took the opening set, 25-18 behind the play of Megan Schmale who had four kills with just one attack error and she added two blocks. Effken paced the Bulldogs with four kills and Mancini added three kills. An attack error by the Mavericks cut their lead to 9-8 but the Mavs used a 10-3 run to put the set out of the reach.
Drake pulled even in the match with a 25-20 win in set two. Drake trailed early, 8-7 after an attack error by Erin Roggenburg (Ankeny, Iowa), but that would be the final time the Bulldogs trailed in the set. The Bulldogs built a 23-18 lead and forced UNO to take a timeout and back-to-back kills by Platte and Tramosljanin gave the Bulldogs the set. Platte paced the attack with three kills.
The Bulldogs carried momentum from the second set to the third as they jumped out to an early 5-1 lead. The Blue and White did not let up as they took a 20-10 lead as three service aces by Katie Dulek (Lenexa, Kan.) and a kill by Platte forced a Mavericks timeout. Three kills, a service ace by Scarlett Howerter (Lincoln, Neb.) and a service error by the Mavericks gave Drake a 2-1 set advantage going into the fourth. Drake had a balanced attack on its way to 14 kills and just four errors to finish the set with a .345 hitting percentage.
In set four the Bulldogs took a 12-6 lead after a UNO error but the Mavericks answered with a 5-1 run to cut the deficit to 12-11. UNO tied the set at 17-17 after an error by Shelby Daum (Battle Creek, Neb.) but the Bulldogs ripped off three straight points to take the lead back 20-17. A kill Mancini gave the Bulldogs a 24-21 lead but the Mavericks answered with a 5-0 run to win the set, 26-24 and even the match.
The Bulldogs will resume MVC play Saturday night when they face the Creighton Bluejays (12-2, 2-0 MVC) at 5 p.m.