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San Diego Mojo edge past the Omaha Supernovas


Willow Johnson, an opposite hitter for the Mojo, tips over Supernova blockers. (Courtesy of Soleil Dam)


The San Diego Mojo beat the Omaha Supernovas in five sets to even their season series. Their last matchup on April 20 was a tight game and Tuesday’s matchup was no different. Both teams currently hold a top-4 seed and hope to close the season on a high note to secure a playoff spot. 


Tuesday’s match kicked off with a service error by the Mojo, which allowed the Supernovas to take the lead. Omaha had a sustained lead throughout the first set, but San Diego kept it close with their excellent defense. The Supernovas ended up winning the set 25-17.


The Mojo took back the game’s momentum by scoring the first point of the second set, despite a challenge by Coach Kuhn. Their strong game plan on offense gave them the lead for majority of the set and a victory to tie the game at a set apiece. 


“As soon as we started going back on our game plan and executing, they never had an answer for it,” said Tayyiba Haneef-Park, San Diego’s head coach. 


Courtesy of Soleil Dam

The third and fourth set were similar, in that both teams were scoring back and forth. The Mojo came away with a third set win and the Supernovas ended up winning the fourth set. 


The fifth set marked the Mojo’s fourth straight five-set matchup. They had won three out of four of those games, so they remained confident throughout Tuesday’s game. San Diego and Omaha battled throughout the fifth set, but a continual scoring run ultimately led to a victory for the Mojo.


“We know that we sometimes start off a little slow, but we can bounce back and we can fight for those next two, three, or four sets,” said Temi Thomas-Ailara, a San Diego outside hitter.


Tuesday’s win puts the Mojo firmly in fourth place in the league standings. The team’s turnaround since starting the season 0-3 has been a prominent narrative in the Pro Volleyball Federation. 


“We knew we were going to improve for the rest of the season,” said Lindsey Vander Weide, an outside hitter for San Diego. “After that, it really brought us close.”


Both teams will play again on April 26, respectively. They are looking to finish the season strong and keep the momentum going into the playoffs.

  

“We knew it was going to be a grind for these last five or six matches of the season,” said Laura Kuhn, Omaha’s head coach. “We just need to lock in and execute at a high level to finish out strong.”

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