Panthers win back-to-back home games against Salukis, Bears

DREW HILL, Opinion Columnist

The UNI volleyball team played two games at home over the weekend, facing Southern Illinois on Friday, Nov. 5, and Missouri State on Saturday, Nov. 6. UNI came into Friday night with a 9-16 record, while Southern Illinois came in 5-23, and Missouri State entered with a 14-13 record.

The match with Southern Illinois was a back-and-forth series that was close throughout. The first set was a tight battle, featuring eight ties early on. UNI then took a 14-11 lead, which Southern Illinois matched with a three-point run. After that, UNI went on a run that saw them take the set 25-17. The second set saw Southern Illinois lead most of the way. UNI did tie it at 16 and took an 18-17 lead, but Southern Illinois pulled back in front to win the set 25-22. The third was another back-and-forth set. With the score tied at 15, the Panthers took the lead and did not relinquish it, picking up a 25-21 win. The fourth set saw UNI come back after a quick Salukis’ lead to take the set 25-22 and win the series 3-1.

Taylor Alden had her second triple-double of the week for the Panthers with 16 kills, 24 assists and 14 digs. Jenna Brandt reached a career milestone by reaching 1,000 assists in her career en route to getting 23 assists. Kira Fallert was the leader in digs with 16.

The Panther women were back on the floor the next night against Missouri State. The Panthers used big runs to change the dynamics of each set. In the first set, UNI got out to a six-point lead before the Bears made it interesting by cutting Northern Iowa’s lead to 18-16, but UNI closed the game on a 7-0 run to win 25-16. The second set went back-and-forth until UNI went on an 11-2 run to open up a big lead, and held on to win 25-17. The third set saw UNI get behind but rally from a 12-10 deficit with another 7-0 run. UNI finished the set and series with a 25-18 win.

  The Panther women led a balanced attack as Fallert, Emily Holterhaus and Igna Rotto all led in kills with eight each. Alden and Brandt once again led the way on assists, with 20 and 17, respectively. Peyton Ahrenstorff had the most digs with 15. Rotto and Carly Spies reached career milestones in blocks, with Rotto earning her 300th block in her career and Spies her 200th as a Panther.

  UNI will face its next opponent on its last road trip of the year. They play Indiana State Friday, Nov. 12, and Evansville the next day. Both games will be on the road.