Panthers improve to 11-0 in MVC



Inga Rotto (13) led the Panthers on Saturday with 16 kills on a .652 hitting percentage during the 3-1 victory over Evansville.

DREW HILL, Opinion Columnist

The UNI women’s volleyball team improved to 18-6 and a spotless 11-0 in Missouri Valley Conference (MVC) play with wins over Indiana State and Evansville. UNI stands alone atop the MVC standings. They are going into the closing stretch of the season, with seven games until the MVC Tournament.

UNI came into the match with the Indiana State Sycamores on Friday, Oct. 21, having won nine games in a row with a 16-6 overall record. Indiana State came in 3-14 overall. Despite the poor overall record, Indiana State proved to be a formidable opponent.

In the first set, Indiana State jumped out ahead early, eventually stretching out their lead to 12-5. UNI roared back to tie it up at 12 apiece. After battling back and forth, UNI got up 22-18, but the Sycamores tied it up again at 22. The Panthers scored the last three points to win 25-22. The second set was similar, as Indiana State jumped out ahead early. This time, UNI did not tie the score until it was 17-17. A couple of short runs enabled the Panthers to win 25-23 to take a 2-0 lead in the series. The third set saw neither team get out to a large lead. UNI actually had the first solid lead at 10-7, but Indiana State used a 11-4 storm to get ahead 18-14. UNI answered with a 7-0 run to take a 21-18 lead. Indiana State pulled in closer, but UNI held on for a 25-22 win to complete the sweep. Emily Holterhaus led UNI in kills in this match with 12. Taylor Alden led in assists with 37. Sydney Petersen led the defense with 17 digs.

UNI’s next match was against the Evansville Purple Aces on Saturday, Oct. 22, 2022. The Purple Aces came into the match with UNI 8-16 overall and 5-5 in conference play.

For the first few points of the first set, neither team could get too far ahead of the other. After a 5-5 deadlock, however, UNI began to pull away. Highlighted by a 7-0 run, UNI jumped ahead and never looked back, winning 25-14. The second set played out similarly. With the score tied at 13-13, UNI used a 4-1 run to start to pull away. However, Evansville roared back to tie the set at 21 apiece before winning the set on a 4-1 run. The Panthers responded with a dominant third set. After jumping out to a 5-0 lead, UNI only let Evansville back within three points once. They cruised to a 25-15 win. The final set saw both teams battle back and forth to a 10-10 tie. UNI responded with a quick 5-0 run. The Purple Aces tried to claw their way back into the game, but UNI kept them back at arm’s length, keeping at least a three-point lead for the rest of the game enroute to a 25-19 win to win the series 3-1. Inga Rotto led the Panthers in kills in this match with 16. Alden once again led in assists with 40. Petersen also led in digs again with 16.

UNI’s next two matches will be next week at home against Murray State on Friday, Oct. 28, and Belmont the next day, Oct. 29. Both games will be available to stream on ESPN3.