Panthers stay perfect in MVC



Taylor Alden (6) had a standout weekend, finishing with a double-double in both games.

ADAM JOHNSON, Sports Writer

UNI went up against UIC on Friday, Oct. 14, and Valparaiso on Saturday, Oct. 15. The Panthers have been dominant in MVC play so far this season, and it did not stop with these two matchups. They beat both teams 3-1, and have now extended their winning streak to nine games.

The Panthers played host to the UIC Flames, and from the start, it looked like it was going to be a rough night for UNI. The beginning of the first set was looking good, but about midway through, the Flames ran away with it. They took the first set with an impressive 25-15 victory, going on an 11-3 stretch to finish it off.

The second set showed a lot of back and forth action, as each team went on significant runs. The Panthers however, were able to score the points when they were most needed, and came away with the 25-20 victory.

The third set saw the Flames holding onto a narrow lead throughout most of it, as when the Panthers were able to take the lead at 22-21, it was the first time they had led since the score was 5-4. The Panthers took that lead and were able to pull out a close one 25-23, scoring the final point on an Emily Holterhaus kill.

The Panthers looked to send UIC back home in the fourth set. This was a close one, but UNI shifted gears while trailing 19-18. The Panthers tallied seven straight points to extinguish the Flames, winning 25-19. Holterhaus, Carly Spies and Tayler Alden combined for five kills in the last seven points. UNI defeated the Flames, 3-1.

Next up was another home game, this time against Valparaiso. The first set went back and forth quite a bit, but Valparaiso would extend their lead to as much as seven points later on, and ended up winning the first set 25-20.

UNI certainly was not new to being down 1-0, and looked to bounce back in the second set. The Panthers took the lead on the first point of the set and never looked back. Valpo kept it close for a little while, but eventually UNI pulled away, and won the set in dominant fashion, 25-16. 

The third set saw the Panthers working from behind, as Valpo maintained a steady lead, and even extended it to seven points when the score was 22-15. Things were looking tough for the Panthers, but they did not back down. They went on an 8-1 run to tie the game at 23. The finish was close, as the Panthers needed extra points to win this one, 27-25.

The Panthers did not mess around in the fourth set, as they took a commanding lead early on. They were up by as many as nine points, but Valpo made some noise late in the set to cut the lead to just three at 21-18. A couple mistakes by Valpo, and two great kills by Kira Fallert, the last of which was the winning point, sealed the set and the match for UNI. They defeated Valparaiso 3-1.

These victories make it nine straight wins for UNI, and they will get a bit of a break before they travel to Indiana State on Friday, Oct. 21. They will be looking to bring their winning streak to double digits.