Feb 08, 2024

Paige Briggs Explodes in First Career Start as Omaha Falls to Vegas in Five-Set Thriller

Posted Feb 08, 2024 3:30 PM

Geoff Exstrom

Omaha Supernovas

OMAHA, Neb. – Supernovas rookie sensation Paige Briggs exploded for 14 kills and 19 digs in her first career professional start, but Omaha fell to the Vegas Thrill in a five-set thriller 25-19, 23-25, 20-25, 25-18, 12-15 Wednesday at the CHI Health Center. 

Two-time Olympian Bethania de la Cruz posted an impressive six aces on the match and sparked numerous service runs for the Supernovas. De la Cruz now has a league-leading 10 aces on the season. She also notched 13 kills, with a .273 hitting percentage. Iowa native Jess Schaben-Lansman added 15 kills, but was also a force at the net with a team-leading four blocks. The Supernovas had 10 total blocks. 

Omaha setter Sydney Hilley dished out 40 assists on the night along with a team-high 20 digs. The Supernovas hit .188 in the match with eight aces and 90 total digs.

Thrill middle blocker Molly McCage accounted for eight of the Thrill’s 15 blocks. She contributed offensively as well with 14 kills and a .375 hitting percentage. Hannah Maddux led Vegas with 18 kills and added three blocks.

Vegas setter Alisha Glass Childress completed a double-double with 46 assists and 16 digs. Thrill libero Kylie Murr led the defensive effort with a match-high 28 digs. 

Set 1: After a back-and-forth opening set, Hilley pulled the Supernovas’ lead to 9-6 with a block. Omaha middle blocker Danielle Hart added a block of her own after a long rally to bring the score to 15-11. Briggs tallied the final three kills for the Supernovas to secure a 25-19 first-set win. The outside hitter from Ortonville, Mich. led the Supernovas with six kills and posted a .666 hitting percentage. The Supernovas out blocked the Thrill 5-2.

Set 2: Briggs continued her career night with her seventh kill of the match to get the Supernovas off to a 3-1 start. The Thrill forced an Omaha timeout at 15-17 after three consecutive points. A block and a kill by Schaben-Lansman evened the score at 18-18. The Thrill’s McCage contributed three kills to force an Omaha timeout at 23-21. The Thrill ended the set 25-23 off of McCage’s eighth kill of the match. 

Set 3: After trailing early in the set, a 6-0 run sparked by a de la Cruz serving clinic forced a Thrill timeout at 12-8. De la Cruz dialed up three aces on the service run for the Supernovas. The Thrill mounted momentum of their own behind Saskia Hippe to force a Supernovas timeout at 17-16. Omaha opposite Nia Reed ended the run with a kill off the block. The Thrill took the 21-18 lead after a trio of Supernovas errors. McCage posted her fourth block of the match to get the Thrill to set point, and Maddux finished the set at 25-20 with a kill. Maddux led the Thrill with five kills and a .417 hitting percentage. McCage added three kills.

Set 4: De la Cruz served up back-to-back aces to give the Supernovas an early 7-3 lead. Briggs found the floor on a crafty second-ball kill to extend the Omaha lead. A 4-0 service run by Layne Van Buskirk forced a Supernovas timeout at 19-13. Up against set point, the Thrill committed a service error to give the Supernovas a 25-18 set win. De la Cruz totaled five kills on the set. Briggs and Schaben-Lansman each added three.

Set 5: Schaben-Lansman tallied her 13th kill of the match to put the Supernovas up 5-1. A block and a kill by McCage cut the lead to 8-7. A Maddux kill gave the Thrill their first lead of the set at 9-8. Another Maddux kill extended the Trill lead to 13-10. De La Cruz answered with her 13th kill of the match. An Omaha error brought the Thrill to match point and Hippe ended the match 15-12.

The Supernovas hit the road for their first away match of the season. They will face off with the Grand Rapids Rise at 6 p.m. (CT) at Van Andel Arena in Grand Rapids, Mich.