Panthers finish 2-1 in Texas

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Panthers finish 2-1 in Texas

Courtesy Photo/UNI Athletics

Courtesy Photo/UNI Athletics

Courtesy Photo/UNI Athletics

COLIN HORNING, Sports Writer

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Coming off a Missouri Valley Conference tournament championship and a first round NCAA tournament exit, the Panther volleyball team looked to start the 2019 season off on the right foot.  The Panthers ventured down to the heart of Texas playing in Austin on Friday night followed by traveling south to San Marcos, Texas for Saturday’s matchups.  Competing in a round-robin tournament with the Texas Longhorns, Texas State and Liberty University, the Panther women walked away with a 2-1 record over the weekend. 

Friday night saw the purple and gold take on the Longhorns of the University of Texas. Ranked No. 4 in the nation, Texas was able to come out on top three sets to one. Tied 1-1 after the first two sets, the Longhorns narrowly took the third set 25-23. The Panthers were unable to overcome the 2-1 deficit and dropped the fourth set 25-19.

Leading the way for Northern Iowa was senior Karlie Taylor with 19 kills, followed by Emily Holterhaus with 11 and Inga Rotta with 10.

UNI bounced back on Saturday, winning their games against Liberty University and Texas State. Traveling from Virginia, the Liberty Flames made the first two sets a back-and-forth affair.

The Panther women won a hard-fought first set, 25-23, with Liberty taking the second set, 26-24. However, UNI would close out the Flames with two impressive wins in the final two sets. Karlie Taylor led the way again with 23 kills along with one ace.

Riding the momentum of their win against Liberty, UNI took care of Texas State in three straight sets. A balanced attack saw junior Kate Busswitz lead the Cats with 13 kills, followed by Ingo Rotta with 12 and Taylor with 11.

Up next, the Panther women will host the UNI Tournament from September 6-7. The tournament will see several high-profile opponents coming to the McLeod Center, including USC, Creighton and Kentucky.