UNI splits two games with Bradley in Peoria

The+Panthers+split+their+two+games+with+Bradley+over+the+weekend.+They+will+face+Drake+in+their+first+round+of+the+MVC+volleyball+tournament.+

TONI FORTMANN

The Panthers split their two games with Bradley over the weekend. They will face Drake in their first round of the MVC volleyball tournament.

COLIN HORNING, Sports Editor

The final two regular season games for the UNI volleyball team were on the road this past weekend in Peoria, Ill. for a matchup with the Bradley Braves. Coming into the two-game set, UNI had a conference record of 7-7 and an overall record of 7-11, while Bradley was 11-5 in both the Missouri Valley Conference and overall on the season. After a tough 3-2 loss in the final set on Saturday, the Panthers bounced back on Sunday with a 3-1 win and a series split.

The first game was largely in control for Bradley at the start; however, a Panther rally nearly led to a victory for the visitors. The Braves maintained a slight edge throughout the first set, and despite a brief Panther rally putting them up 17-16, Bradley was able to hold on 25-22. Keeping the momentum going into the second set, the home team never trailed in the set and took it by the score of 25-19. With Bradley looking for the sweep in game one, UNI bounced back.

The third set saw a slight lead throughout, but this time it was UNI who was in favor. They were able to hold off each of Bradley’s runs in the set and kept the match in check, winning it 25-21. Set four saw a furious nine-point rally by UNI which prompted two Bradley timeouts and left UNI in control the rest of the way with a 25-19 win. Being that both teams had won two apiece, this pushed game one to the fifth and final set.

Both teams traded points back and forth throughout, with neither side scoring more than two consecutive. With the score tied at 14 and the game on the line, it was Bradley who gained the slight advantage and the 16-14 set victory and the subsequent game one win.

Kaylissa Arndorfer led UNI with 20 kills, followed by Inga Rotto with 12. Carly Spies had nine blocks for the Panthers with Arndorfer putting in eight.

The Panthers’ fortunes were turned around in the second game on Sunday, as they won 3-1 with set scores of 25-19, 15-25, 25-22, 25-15. UNI got out to an early lead in the first set and never looked back, which helped them win it 25-19. Bradley fought back in the second and trounced UNI 25-15 to even up the game score. The final two sets turned in favor of the visiting Panthers as they edged out a 25-22 win in the third set and a 25-15 win in the final set, taking the game 3-1.
UNI hit .184 as a team and had 54 kills compared to Bradley’s .131 and 42 kills. Emily Holterhaus, Carly Spies  and Megan Whitte of UNI led the team in kills with 12, 11 and 11 respectively.

The two-game split moved the Panthers’ final regular season record to 8-12 on the year and 8-8 in the MVC. Up next, they will head to Normal, Ill. for the first round of the MVC Volleyball tournament on April 2, where they will be matched up with the Drake Bulldogs.