From UCO Sports
Mike Kirk, Assistant Athletic Director for Media Relations
EDMOND (Oct. 17) – No. 11-ranked Central Oklahoma scored the final five points to cap a furious fifth-set rally that lifted the streaking Bronchos past No. 12 Nebraska-Kearney in an emotionally-charged battle at Hamilton Field House Saturday night.
UCO overcame a 9-3 deficit in the final set to pull out a pulsating 25-27, 25-15, 19-25, 25-22, 15-13 victory in the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association showdown for just their second win in 13 tries against the perennial NCAA Division II powerhouse Lopers.
The Bronchos improved to 21-1 on the season and a league-leading 9-0 with their 15th straight win, which tied a school record. UNK fell to 17-5 and 7-3.
“That was a great match with a lot of back-and-forth momentum swings and both teams battled incredibly hard,” head coach Edgar Miraku said. “I’m really proud of the way we stayed calm when we got down in the fifth set and found a way to get back in it. That was a huge win for us.”
The Lopers built a quick 9-3 lead in the deciding set and still appeared in great shape with an 11-6 advantage before UCO got back in it with back-to-back kills by Jordan Spence and two straight hitting errors.
UNK scored the next two points to go up 13-10, but the Bronchos got kills from Taylor Bevis and Barbara Jackson in scoring the final five points to finish off the stunning comeback.
UCO benefitted from another balanced attack as four players had double-digit kills for the second straight match.
Spence led the way with 14 kills and four blocks, while Jackson added 12 kills, Allison Barr 11 kills with six assisted blocks and Bevis 11 kills.
Katy Davis handed out a season-high 55 assists, Whitney Gifford came up big defensively again with 27 digs and Bonnie Vernon added 10 key digs.
The Bronchos had a 17-set winning streak snapped in the opening set when UNK prevailed 27-25 by scoring the final three points.
UCO rebounded to dominate the second set, hitting .464 with 14 kills and just one error in 28 attacks as Jackson and Bevis had five kills apiece.
The Bronchos had a 14-11 lead in the third set before UNK scored five straight points to take the lead for good, but UCO stayed alive with a clutch fourth-set win that Spence ended with an emphatic kill down the middle.
Central goes on the road for its next four conference matches before returning home Nov. 3 to host Pittsburg State.