Panthers sweep weekend, stay unbeaten in MVC

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  • Emily Holterhaus (10) recorded her 1,000th career kill during UNI’s 3-1 victory over Missouri State this past Friday. The Panthers have won 10 of their last 11 matches.

  • Inga Rotto (13) became UNI’s all-time leader in matches played on Saturday, competing in her 139th match with the Panthers.

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BEN LAHART, Sports Writer

Since starting 1-5, the UNI volleyball team has gone 10-1 over their last 11 matches, winning four straight, including notching two more wins over the weekend. The Panthers played in Springfield, Mo. against Missouri State (5-11, 2-2 MVC) on Friday, Sept. 30, winning 3-1. On Saturday Oct. 1, they played again on the road against the Southern Illinois Salukis (9-7, 2-2 MVC) winning 3-0.

In the match against Missouri State, UNI dropped the first set losing 25-19. However, the Panthers kept it very close up until the very end. The team made up for the loss in the first set by winning the second with a score of 25-21. In the next set the Panthers quickly got out to an 8-2 lead and never looked back, winning the set 25-16. The following set was a lot closer. UNI found themselves down 18-14 in the middle of the set before ending on an 11-5 run to secure the win with a score of 25-23. With this win, UNI has won their last two matches and seven of the last 10 against Missouri State.

Kira Fallert and Emily Holterhaus accounted for nearly half of the 61 total kills, tallying 15 and 13 respectively. Inga Rotto led the team in blocks with four while Carly Spies and Fallert each had three. Sydney Petersen and Tayler Alden each had one ace in the match as well. The final score was UNI winning 3-1.

On Saturday, the Panthers continued their momentum with a very dominant first set against Southern Illinois. They started out with an early lead of 11-1 before ultimately winning 25-6. UNI didn’t see a loss the rest of the weekend, winning their fifth and sixth straight sets of the road trip. These sets were a bit more competitive but with streaks of four and six straight points in each set respectively, UNI found themselves winning both with a score of 25-20. This accounted for the twelfth straight win against Southern Illinois, with the streak dating all the way back to the 2016 season.

Holterhaus again finished with 13 kills in one less set than the day before. Rotto also totaled double digit kills with 10. Spies and Rotto shared the team high in blocks with four a piece, while Holterhaus finished with three. Petersen tripled her number of aces from the day before with three at the end of this match. Spies also had two aces in the match. The final score was a UNI sweep winning 3-0.

The Panthers are currently undefeated in conference play sitting atop the Missouri Valley Conference with a 4-0 record and an 11-6 record overall. UNI will look to continue their winning streak as they start a five game home stand this Friday, Oct. 7, as they host Bradley University in the McLeod Center at 6 p.m. The Panthers will follow that with the Purple Out game against Illinois State the next day, Oct. 8 at 7 p.m.