Panthers win two, Coach Peterson sets all-time MVC wins record

UNI head volleyball coach Bobbi Peterson earned her 510th career win last Sunday against Evansville. She became the winningest volleyball coach in Missouri Valley Conference history with the win.

DAVID WARRINGTON

After a tough 0-5 start to the season, the UNI Panthers volleyball team looked to get back on track when they traveled to the Meeks Family Fieldhouse in Evansville, Ind. for a two match series against the University of Evansville Purple Aces. Playing on Sunday, Feb. 7 and Monday, Feb. 8, UNI was able to get their momentum turned around, picking up two wins in Missouri Valley Conference play.

In the first of two matches, the Panthers went back and forth with the Purple Aces all afternoon. The first set remained close throughout, with no team leading by more than four points. The Panthers did manage to take the set, winning 25-21, and taking a lead in the match one set to zero. In the second set, Northern Iowan went on a stretch where they took 10 of 12 consecutive points, giving them a comfortable lead that they were able to hold onto, winning the set 25-20.

Needing to win the third set to stay alive, the Purple Aces managed to hold off UNI, winning the set 25-21. After losing their first set of the day, the Panthers responded well, taking an early 8-3 lead in the fourth set. Evansville did what they could to try and come back, but it wasn’t enough as UNI held on to win the set 25-23, winning the match 3-1.

The victory was number 510 for UNI head coach Bobbi Petersen, moving her past former Missouri State head coach Melissa Stokes to become the winningest volleyball coach in the history of the Missouri Valley Conference.

Sophomore Emily Holterhaus led the Panthers in both kills and digs with 15 and 12 respectively. Freshman setter Tayler Alden was the team leader in assists, finishing with a season high 48.

The Panthers were back at it 24 hours later for the second match of the two-match series. Like the majority of their sets the day before, the first set was close, with both teams going back and forth. The Panthers trailed 22-23 before finishing off the set with three straight points to win 25-23 and take a 1-0 lead in the match.

UNI dominated in the second set, at one point leading 17-6, and ended up winning the set by a final of 25-14 for their biggest margin of victory in a set this series. In what would end up being the final set of the day, Evansville kept things close for a while, but the Panthers would end up pulling away, winning the set 25-19 and the match 3-0.

Emily Holterhaus once again led the Panthers in kills, finishing with a season high 19. Kaylee Donner led the team in digs with 11, while Tayler Alden finished with a team high 29 assists. UNI finished with a team hitting percentage of .287, while holding Evansville to just .112.

With the victories, the Panthers move to 2-5 on the year. They will return home to the McLeod Center on Sunday, Feb. 14 and Monday, Feb. 15 for MVC conference matchups against the Missouri State Bears.