Monday, May 20, 2024

MATCH RECAP: Omaha Falls to San Diego in Five Sets as Samedy Makes Supernovas Debut

SAN DIEGO, CA. – The Omaha Supernovas (12-7) fell to the San Diego Mojo (8-9) in a 25-19, 17-25, 22-25, 25-21, 8-15 five-set thriller Tuesday night at Viejas Arena. The result means the Supernovas and Mojo have split the season series at two wins apiece with each team winning its home matches.

Olympian and Supernovas’ outside hitter Bethania de la Cruz led the team with 15 kills and a season-high 19 digs. She also added one block and her league-leading 26th ace of the season. Recent Omaha signee and opposite Stephanie Samedy made her Supernovas debut, adding 12 kills on a .206 clip with 10 digs for a double-double. The Minnesota graduate also earned a block and her first ace. 

Team captain Brooke Nuneviller excelled off the bench on Tuesday, recording 10 kills on a .307 hitting percentage with 10 digs for her first double-double since April 4 when Omaha beat Columbus. Rookie Paige Briggs chipped in eight kills in her second career pro start. Jess Schaben-Lansman added seven kills. 

Hristina Vuchkova led the middle blockers with six kills, three blocks and three digs. Tori Dixon and Sophie Davis each tallied one kill, but it was Davis who earned two blocks compared to Dixon’s one. 

Setters Sydney Hilley and Natalia Valentín-Anderson each saw playing time as Valentín-Anderson finished with a team-high 29 assists and nine digs. Hilley added 22 assists and 11 digs. Libero Kendall White posted 15 digs and six assists. 

The Supernovas hit .155 with 10 blocks and three aces. 

Mojo hitter Temi Thomas-Ailara continued her good fortunes against Omaha with a match-high 22 kills and 17 digs. Two more Mojo players reached double-digit kills as opposite and lefty Willow Johnson recorded 14 kills and 15 digs while Lindsay Vander Weide totaled 11 kills and 14 digs. 

San Diego hit .184 with a franchise-record 20 blocks and three aces. 

Set 1: The Supernovas came firing out of the gate with a 6-2 lead as Schaben-Lansman chipped in a couple kills while Omaha took advantage of some Mojo hitting errors. San Diego rallied with a 3-0 run, but Briggs answered with back-to-back kills and Vuchkova won a net battle to increase the lead to 9-5. Lewis and Stone tallied consecutive kills. A 6-0 run followed to open up the set as Schaben-Lansman, de la Cruz, Vuchkova and a Briggs ace occurred in the sequence. A 3-0 Mojo run halted the momentum as Thomas-Ailara hammered down two kills. A four-hit violation ended the run, but a Thomas-Ailara kill and consecutive blocks cut the lead to 16-13. De la Cruz came up with a block and Briggs delivered her fourth kill of the set to go ahead 19-15. De la Cruz later added two more kills to give Omaha set point. A reaching over the net violation on San Diego clinched the 25-19 set one win for the Supernovas. 

Omaha hit .174 with two blocks and one ace. Briggs and Schaben-Lansman led the offense with four kills apiece. De la Cruz added three while Vuchkova had a pair of kills. 

San Diego hit .143 with four blocks and zero aces. Thomas-Ailara continued her effectiveness against the Supernovas with a team-high four kills in the set. 

Set 2: Alison Bastianelli led the Mojo charge with two kills to put San Diego up 4-1. Vander Weide posted a solo block and a Johnson kill from the right pin put the lead to 6-1 Mojo to force an Omaha timeout. Briggs and Vuchkova buried back-to-back blocks. The Mojo answered with consecutive blocks of their own to hold the lead. A Vander Weide kill and ace from Johnson extended the lead to 10-3. Schaben-Lansman and Vuchkova tallied kills to make it 10-6. San Diego held the lead at 14-8, but Omaha regrouped for a 4-0 run including a trio of de la Cruz kills and a Dixon block to put the Mojo lead at 14-12. Johnson hit a crafty shot from the pin to end the Supernovas’ rally. Vander Weide came up with another block and kill to put the Mojo up 18-14. Vuchkova found the floor for a kill to keep the Mojo lead at six. Johnson used a low angle for a kill to give the Mojo set point. Thomas-Ailara finished off the set by tooling off the block to give the Mojo a 25-17 set win. 

San Diego hit .256 with five blocks and two aces. Thomas Ailara led the Mojo with five kills while Johnson, Bastianelli, and Vander Weide each posted three. 

Omaha hit .119 with three blocks and zero aces. De la Cruz added four kills in the set with Vuchkova and Schaben-Lansman each chipping in three. 

Set 3: The woes for Omaha continued as action began in the third set with San Diego shooting out to a 5-1 lead with a Thomas-Ailara ace and two kills from Johnson. A Mojo service error ended the rally, but San Diego answered with a 4-0 run as a Ronika Stone middle attack forced a timeout at 9-2 Mojo. Briggs ended the rally with her second kill. Trailing 11-4, the Supernovas went to the bench as recent signee and opposite Samedy made her Omaha debu. She earned her first kill as a Supernovas two points later. Thomas-Ailara secured a block and kill in back-to-back points to extend the Mojo lead back to 14-6. The Supernovas gained momentum behind the bench reinforcements, building a 6-2 run behind a Samedy kill and ace to make it 16-12. Two-straight blocks from San Diego extended the lead back to 20-14, but Omaha rallied for a 4-0 run with de la Cruz, Nuneviller and Samedy each recording a kill. Thomas-Ailara hammered another kill. Samedy earned two more kills to make the score 24-22 Mojo, but the Minnesota graduate committed a service error to give the Mojo a 25-22 set win. 

San Diego hit .135 with five more blocks and one ace. Thomas Ailara stacked five more kills to her total with Johnson and Vander Weide each adding three. 

Omaha hit .140 with two blocks and one ace. Samedy paced the offense with six kills on a .417 clip in her debut set with Briggs adding three kills before being taken out for Nuneviller. 

Set 4: The Supernovas gained their first lead since the first set with the opening two points which included one of Davis’ two blocks. San Diego took advantage of two Omaha errors to tie the set up at two, but de la Cruz earned consecutive kills. Nuneviller added her first kill of the set a few points later. De la Cruz delivered another kill to make it 10-8 Omaha. Nuneviller began a 5-0 run for Omaha with a back-row kill and later secured a block. A de la Cruz service error ended the run, but the damage was done as the Supernovas led 15-9. Nuneviller added two more kills to her set total to make it 18-12 Omaha. The Mojo rallied for a 4-0 run as Johnson added a kill and the Supernovas committed a pair of hitting errors to cut the lead down to 20-18 forcing an Omaha timeout. De la Cruz got a touch for her sixth kill of the set to end the run. She followed that point by securing her league-leading 26th ace of the season. Samedy added another kill to stamp a 3-0 run and force a San Diego timeout with a 23-18 lead. Nuneviller tooled a block to make it set point Omaha before she terminated her sixth kill of the set to give the Supernovas a 25-21 set win and force a decisive fifth.

Omaha hit .213 with a pair of blocks and once ace. Nuneviller and de la Cruz were the dynamic duo as each tallied six kills in the set while Samedy added three. 

San Diego recorded a clip of .098 with four more blocks and zero aces. Johnson earned four of the team’s nine kills in the set. 

Set 5: Thomas-Ailara reentered the match and made her presence known with two kills off the bat to give San Diego a quick 3-1 lead. Samedy and Nuneviller recorded back-to-back kills to tie it up. Johnson put down another kill which was followed by an Omaha double hit to give the Mojo a two-point lead again. The two teams rallied back and forth, but San Diego gained the upper hand with a 5-0 run behind four kills and a block from Thomas-Ailara to make it 12-6 Mojo. A service error ended the run, but the Mojo’s 20th block gave them match point. Davis recorded a block, but Thomas-Ailara ended the match with her 22nd kill. 

The Supernovas are back at home for their next match on Friday, April 26 with Omaha hosting the Grand Rapids Rise at the CHI Health Center. First serve is set for 8:30 p.m. CDT with Omaha making its debut on CBS Sports Network. Fans can also listen to all the action on the Supernovas Radio Network led by the flagship station 93.7 The Ticket. 

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