Panther women advance to 8-8 on the season

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TONI FORTMANN

COLIN HORNING, Sports Writer

It has been an up-and-down season so far for the UNI volleyball team, as they’ve had their fair share of victories and defeats leading to a 6-8 record heading into Friday night’s conference opening against the Evansville Purple Aces.

Coming off the Marquette Invitational last weekend, the Panther women were able to ride the momentum and knock off their MVC opponents 3-1.

The first set went handily to UNI, 25-17. However, Evansville battled back in the second and was able to take the extended set 32-30. After a close 26-24 win for UNI in the third set, they were able to close the Aces out in the fourth set with an eight-point victory. Karlie Taylor led UNI with 22 kills, followed by Kate Busswitz with 12 and Inga Rotto with nine.

Saturday saw another MVC opponent make their way into the McLeod Center, as UNI played host to Indiana State. The Panther women proved to be too much for the 2-9 Sycamores as they again took this match in four sets.

Sets two and three were both decided by a two-point difference, with each side taking one. Kaylissa Arndorfer led the Panthers with 18 kills on the night. Rachel Koop had 49 assists for UNI, while Abbi Staack led the team with 30 digs. Karlie Taylor had to be removed early on due to an ankle injury, forcing the true freshman and Waterloo native Arndorfer to step up in her place. UNI head coach Bobbi Petersen cited her team’s depth and confidence in her younger players as reasons for her team’s victory.

“It took many different people stepping up. Karlie brings a lot to our team other than somebody that we just set a lot. She’s in every passing rotation except one. She plays great defense for us. There’s a lot of things that had to happen for us to be successful. Rather than people trying to overdo it, everybody tried to do a little bit more.”

Up next, the Panthers will hit the road for three conference games this week against Valparaiso, Missouri State and Southern Illinois before returning home to the McLeod Center on Oct. 11 to host Bradley University.