Panthers drop two games, fall to 0-5

The UNI volleyball team has had a rough start to the season so far, losing their first five games in 2021.

DAVID WARRINGTON

The UNI Panthers volleyball team hosted two matches over the weekend at the McLeod Center, taking on the Drake University Bulldogs on Friday, Jan. 29 and the 25th-ranked Marquette University Golden Eagles on Saturday, Jan. 30. The Panthers put up a good fight in both matches, with most of the sets looking like they could go either way, but they couldn’t come out on top in either match, losing both by a score of three sets to one.

In the first match of the weekend, the Panthers welcomed Drake to Cedar Falls for a rematch of their game earlier in the season that the Bulldogs won 3-1. The first two sets of the match were very close, with multiple ties and lead changes throughout. However, the Bulldogs came out on top in both sets, winning both by the score of 25-19, to take a 2-0 lead. In the third set, needing a win to stay alive, the Panthers looked very strong, pulling out to an 11-2 lead and eventually winning the set 25-11. However, it wasn’t enough, as the Bulldogs won the fourth set, 25-19, winning the match 3-1.

Sophomore Emily Holterhaus led the Panthers in kills with 16. Freshman Tayler Alden recorded a team high 38 assists, while junior Baylee Petersen collected 38 digs to lead the team. For the game, the Panthers had a hitting percentage of .172.

The Panther women were back at it the next day, hosting the 25th-ranked Marquette Golden Eagles out of Milwaukee, Wisc. The first set was close all the way through, with the Purple and Gold staying within two points until the very end and even regaining the lead at one point, 20-19, but the Golden Eagles would win the set 25-22 to take a 1-0 lead. Northern Iowa continued to battle in the second set, leading 23-20 before the visitors came back to tie it up at 24-24. After both teams traded service errors to tie it at 25, the Panthers scored via a kill from Emily Holterhaus off of an assist from Tayler Alden, followed by an attack error by Marquette’s Taylor Wolf to win the set 27-25 and tie the match 1-1.

The third set was more of the same as we got yet another competitive, tightly contested set. UNI managed to pull out to a 17-11 lead, but Marquette went on a run of their own to tie it up at 17-17. The two teams ended up tied at 24-24 before the Golden Eagles scored the final two points of the set, winning 26-24. The Panthers got out to a good start in the fourth set, leading 3-0, but Marquette took back the momentum and didn’t give it up, winning the set 25-18 and winning the match 3-1.

Emily Holterhaus finished this match with 16 kills to go along with nine digs. Tayler Alden recorded 38 assists, while Carly Spies recorded six kills on an impressive .357 hitting percentage. As a team, the Panthers finished the match with 49 kills and a hitting percentage of .192.

With the losses, UNI falls to 0-5 on the season entering conference play. The Panthers will look to bounce back when they travel to Evansville, Indiana to take on the Evansville Purple Aces on Sunday, Feb. 7, and Monday Feb. 8.