The Lady Blues were out-hit .315 to .194 as they suffered their first sweep of the year, 25-20, 25-15, 25-18 Thursday afternoon to Nebraska-Kearney in the first round of the NCAA Central Region tournament. No. 4 Washburn ended its season 31-4 while UNK improved to 34-2 and will play the Truman/Southwest Minnesota State winner Friday.
Jessica Kopp led Washburn with 14 kills and hit .353 in the match. Jessica Fey had 11 kills. Hillary Hughes added a team-high 13 digs as those three seniors ended their career. Gracie Petersen started at setter and had 25 assists and 10 digs for a double-double.
Washburn scored the first point of the match on a kill by Cox and then two straight kills from Fey put Washburn up 3-2. The Lady Blues didn't lead again the rest of the match after that.
Washburn trailed 16-11 midway through the first set and then scored four straight to get within one. Kopp had two of those points off kills. The Lopers called a timeout and went on to score five of the next six to go up 22-16 and they later won the set on a kill from Krolikowski.
The Lopers kept their momentum in the second set and built leads of 4-1 and 11-2.Five straight UNK points later made it 16-3 and the Lopers led by at least eight the rest of the way.
Washburn was within two at 11-9 in the third set before the second-ranked Lopers scored four straight to go up 15-9. Washburn never go within three after that.
Arial Krolokowski led UNK with 18 kills and hit .457 while Katie Sokolowski hit .400 with 12 kills.