Panthers win 2 of 3 matches at Hawkeye Invite



The UNI volleyball teams lines up during introductions before a match this weekend. The Panthers will begin conference play on Friday, hitting the road to take on Valparaiso.

BEN LAHART, Sports Writer

The Panther volleyball team competed at the Hawkeye Invitational this past weekend, in Coralville, Iowa. The women played two matches on Friday, Sept. 16, against the University of North Florida and against South Dakota State University. They closed out the weekend with a match against home team Iowa Hawkeyes on Saturday, Sept. 17. The Panthers went 2-1 throughout the weekend.

UNI started off hot in the first match against North Florida, winning three straight sets. The first set was close up until UNI’s 11-1 run in the middle of the set. UNI went on to win the set 25-16. The second set was a bit closer, but the Panthers were still able to secure the win with a score of 25-22. Finally, UNI once again had a commanding win taking the final set 25-13. Kira Fallert led the way for the Panthers in kills and aces in the first match, tallying 13 and four, respectively. Inga Rotto had the team lead in blocks with four in the first match as well. The Panthers won the match 3-0.

The second match started off similarly to the first with the Panthers beating South Dakota State in the first set with a fairly comfortable margin, 25-18. The second set of this match was just the opposite as UNI lost their first set of the weekend, 25-17. The third set was slightly closer with UNI taking the victory 25-21. The fourth set was exciting with the final score being 35-33 and the Panthers ending up on top. Payton Ahrenstorff led the team in aces with a total of three in the second match of the day. Rotto and Fallert tied for the team high in kills with 13 each. The Panthers had a three-way tie for a lead in block with Carly Spies, Kaylissa Arndorfer and Rotto all tallying two. UNI won the match 3-1.

The lone match on Saturday did not fare as well for UNI, as Iowa won three straight sets to take the match. In the first set UNI kept the score close until Iowa eventually pulled away to win the set 25-17. The second set played out similarly with Iowa winning 25-16. In the final set of the weekend the Panthers stayed close to Iowa the whole time. However, UNI ended up losing the set 25-23. Emily Holterhaus led the team in kills totaling 13 through the three sets, while Spies once again led the way in blocks tallying four. In a three-way tie, Baylee Petersen, Tayler Alden and Ahrenstorff led the team in aces with one each.

Over the whole weekend, Holterhaus led the Panthers in kills with a total of 34 over the three matches. Fallert finished the weekend with the most aces, totaling six over the two days. Finally, Rotto led the team in blocks over the weekend totaling seven during the three matches. After the 2-1 outing, the Panthers record for the season now sits at 7-6 which places the team sixth in the Missouri Valley Conference standings.

The Panthers next match will be Friday, Sept. 23 against undefeated conference opponent Valparaiso. UNI’s next home match will be Friday, Oct. 7 against Bradley.