A familiar theme for the University of Nebraska at Omaha volleyball squad reared its ugly head again at Sapp Fieldhouse Thursday night.
A young Maverick team with nine freshmen was in a position to win every set but nabbed just one as Kansas City dropped UNO 25-20, 25-22, 16-25, 25-17 before a homecoming crowd of 733.
The loss was the 11th in a row for the Mavs as they fell to 6-21 (1-14 Summit League).
UNO coach Rose Shires' most difficult task this season has been trying to teach her young team, which has been competitive in numerous matches, to come away with victories.
“I feel like I'm not sure what else they can do, what else we can do,” Shires said.
Natalie Ebke led the Mavericks with 19 kills as Valerie Hecht added 11 in a back-and-forth match that featured 33 ties and 16 lead changes.
Ebke also contributed defensively, leading UNO with 20 digs, while Amy Roberts added 19 digs and Kimberly Bailey had 16.
The Mavs had the first set tied at 17-17, but the Kangaroos put together an 8-3 run to close it out with a 25-20 win.
UNO rallied to grab a 21-20 lead in the second set, but couldn't finish as Kansas City put together a 5-1 run to go up 2-0.
“They have to learn how to win,” Shires said of her team.
“The turnip that is our team, every ounce of blood is squeezed out right now.”
The Mavericks took advantage of three Kangaroo errors to take the third set 25-16.
“That was a big thing for them. To be ahead and to finish when they got pressured,” Shires said.
UNO again had the fourth set knotted at 15-15 but watched Kansas City finish on a 10-2 tear to put away the match with a 25-17 set victory.
The Mavericks close out the season Saturday when they host South Dakota at 5 p.m.
Shires said she wasn't sure whether a season-ending win over the Coyotes would give the team momentum going into next season, but she is sure a triumph would help this year's squad.
“A win at any point this year is big, and these girls desperately need to win,” Shires said.