Panthers split weekend matches vs Aces, Sycamores



The Panthers fall to the Purple Aces in Evansville on Friday but bounced back to defeat Indiana State on Saturday night.


After an extended road journey that took them throughout the Missouri Valley Conference, the UNI Panthers women’s volleyball team returned home this past weekend, hosting the University of Evansville and Indiana State University on Friday and Saturday.  

Friday’s game against Evansville marked the annual Pink Game for the Panthers, with both the players and fans wearing pink to support breast cancer awareness. Freshman Kira Fallert led the Panthers to a first set win, as she started with consecutive kills and later started a rally with a well-timed ace. 

Things stayed tight between the Panthers and Purple Aces in the second set until Evansville went on a run to win the set 25-16. The third and fourth sets played similarly, with the score remaining close up until the very end. Eventually, Evansville was able to win both sets, and the match, by the score of 29-27 and 25-20, respectively. 

Even with the loss, UNI led in many of the statistical categories. Fallert recorded 14 of the team’s 59 kills, and fellow freshman Taylor Alden notched a season-high 37 assists.

Fortunately, UNI had a chance for a rebound match on Saturday against the Indiana State Sycamores, and they were able to come away with that necessary victory 3-2.

The first set did not start the way the Panthers had hoped for, as they trailed early and often until things were tied up at 9-9. The Sycamores then stepped on the gas with a 12-point go-ahead run, handily winning the set 25-12. 

Things stayed neck-and-neck in the second set as well, with both teams trading points all the way to an 11-11 tie. That tie was broken when Sophomore Kaylissa Arndorfer recorded a kill, which gave the Panthers a huge confidence boost. They soon went on a run and evened the match by taking the set 25-20.

Things were all square in the third set at 15-15 until the Sycamores went on a 7-0 run, eventually taking the set 25-17.

The fourth set saw the Panthers down early, but multiple kills by Alden and two terminations by Junior Carley Spies saw UNI come away in the end by the score of 25-20, tying the match at 2-2 heading into the final set. 

It was all Spies and Arndorfer in the final set, as they combined for several blocks and kills in both the opening and final sections. They provided three consecutive uncontested terminations to win the set and match 15-11. 

Spies’ 15 total kills were a personal best, and so was freshman Payton Ahrenstorff’s 18 digs. Arndorfer’s seven kills came from only 11 attacks, and Alden recorded a double-double with 10 kills and 28 assists.

With the split weekend, UNI is 3-5 in the MVC and 8-13 overall. These home matches were only a brief stop for the Panthers, as they will go on the road for four straight matches against a variety of MVC opponents. Their first match will be against Illinois State University on Friday, Oct. 22.