Panthers shutdown Drake to stay perfect in MVC



Emily Holterhaus (10) prepares to attack during UNI’s 3-1 win over Drake on Tuesday. Holterhaus finished with a team-best 16 kills.

ADAM JOHNSON, Sports Writer

The UNI volleyball team went into a home matchup on Tuesday, Oct. 11, and were facing the Drake Bulldogs. This was a battle of the top two teams in the conference, as Drake was 5-1 in conference play, and UNI was 6-0. The Panthers would turn 6-0 into 7-0 by the night’s end, as they beat the Bulldogs 3-1.

The first set saw a lot of back in forth action early on. The score was at 8-7 when the Panthers leapt out in front of the Bulldogs, going on an impressive 9-0 run to put the score at 17-7. Drake would only get within seven points of the Panthers throughout the rest of the set, and UNI took the victory in set one, 25-18. The Panthers were led in the first set by Carly Spies, Olivia Tjernagel and Kira Fallert, who all had three kills. Spies, Baylee Petersen and Sydney Petersen each had an ace to help out as well.

The second set was much closer down the stretch than the first. Drake maintained a decent lead throughout the majority of the set, usually being ahead by three to five points. They found themselves in a great position late in the set when they had a 22-17 lead. However, much like in the first set, UNI made another impressive run. They scored the next seven points of the set and went from down 22-17, to up 24-22. Drake did manage to answer the run, and scored two straight to even the score. UNI brought the set to set point multiple times, but the Bulldogs kept answering. Finally the Panthers pulled it off when Inga Rotto and Kaylissa Arndorfer blocked Drake’s Haley Bush to win the set 29-27.

Going into the third set up 2-0, the Panthers looked to send the Bulldogs home early. After Drake came out and scored the first six points of the set, it was clear that they had different plans. They never looked back after the great start to the set, as they maintained a steady lead throughout, even extending the lead to nine at one point. Drake would stay alive in the third set, winning it 25-18.

The fourth set had UNI trying to finish it off, and Drake trying to even up the match. When UNI was down 8-6 early in the set, Rotto shifted the momentum with back-to-back kills to even the score at eight. Drake would get a kill to go up one, but then the Panthers scored three straight to go ahead 11-9, a lead that they would hold onto the rest of the way. The Panthers kept the Bulldogs at a bit of a distance the rest of the way, and scored three straight to end it, finishing Drake off with an ace by Tayler Alden, 25-18. The final set was led by an impressive 18 kills for UNI, six of which were at the hand of Emily Holterhaus.

The Panthers won this match 3-1, and improved to 14-6, 7-0 in the MVC. They will look to add two more MVC victories on Friday, Oct. 14, when they go up against UIC at home, as well as on Saturday, Oct. 15, when they host Valparaiso. UIC and Valparaiso are both currently 5-2 in Missouri Valley Conference play.