Denver (1-1) returned to Hamilton Gym Monday afternoon to face the Omaha Mavericks (2-2, 1-1). DU held a 17-1 record against Omaha heading into this match but the teams had a recent history of close games. Monday’s match was no different as the teams played close games with Omaha earning a late-game comeback to seal the match.
Denver fell 20-25, 25-16, 23-25 and 25-27 (3-1 final)
In the first game, Omaha pulled away after the score was tied 15-15, scoring four straight points and never trailing, 25-20. In the second set, DU ran out to a 7-2 lead and coasted to a 25-16 win. In the third set, after the teams were tied at 10, 21, and 22 points but the Mavs pulled ahead for a hard-fought 25-23 win. Denver appeared ready to win the fourth set, leading 24-20, with match point service and a deciding fifth game within reach. However, Omaha reeled off four straight points to draw even with the Pioneers and eventually pushed the set to extra points. Omaha reeled off two straight points to close out the game and the match, 27-25.
Head coach Tom Hogan warned that the Pioneers might be rusty the first week of action. The team played no non-conference matches and focused on COVID-19 protocols which relied heavily on off-court conditioning and mental preparation. Also, Denver was playing without one of their top players, senior Katarina Marinkovic. The outstanding redshirt outside hitter is still recovering from a leg injury and is expected back soon. She will eventually rejoin the lineup and add to Denver’s overall skill and depth.
Newcomer Erica Andric led Denver with 11 kills, Tina Boe scored 15 points and Lorrin Poulter finished with 19 digs.
Denver has a long two-week wait before they travel to Brookings, S.D. to face South Dakota.
Photo: Courtesy of Denver Athletics