Panthers improve to 15-0 in MVC play



The UNI volleyball team has now won 15 straight matches in conference play, as well as 21 out of their last 22. The Panthers have a chance to secure a regular season conference championship this weekend.

CADEN SHEA, Sports Editor

UNI was on the road last weekend as they faced both Bradley and Illinois State in Illinois. The Panthers looked to stay undefeated in the Missouri Valley Conference (MVC) to improve their chances of becoming conference champions. The Panthers achieved this feat as they defeated both teams in straight sets to keep their spotless conference record. 

The Panthers first traveled to Normal, Ill. to face the Southern Illinois Redbirds in volleyball action. The Panthers were attacking like never before in this game, posting season-high statistics in this category. The Panthers had many impressive performances against the Redbirds. Kira Fallert tallied her fourth double-double of the year with 14 kills and 12 digs. Tayler Alden spread the ball around with 30 assists to her teammates in the game. Emily Holterhaus had 12 terminations for the Panthers while Payton Ahernstorff had 10 digs to showcase the outstanding depth of this team. Twins Sydney and Bayley Petersen gave the Panthers all of their aces, combining for four.

The first set was a statement set for the Panthers as they started the game with seven straight points right off the bat. They kept it going, having a run of 12-0 later in the set with the Panthers further asserting their dominance. The Redbirds would go on a late run but it was not enough as UNI was victorious 25-13. The Panthers kept the rally going in the second set despite having a 1-1 tie early on. Inga Rotto had back to back terminations in the final moments of the set to give them a 25-11 set win. The Panthers had their closest set in the third with a tie of 13-13 halfway through the set. A Panthers surge helped them win the set 25-18 and ultimately the match in straight sets.

The Panthers then traveled to Peoria, Ill. to take on the Bradley Braves in yet another conference game. The Panthers played a very good defensive game against the Braves holding them to a .211 attack percentage compared to UNI’s percentage of .364. Alden achieved 1,000 assists on the season and etched her name on the university’s top 10 in career assists. Alden had 36 assists, seven kills, five blocks and two digs in the game against the Braves. Fallert had 14 kills on the day while Sydney Peterson totaled 16 kills and Carley Spies notched four blocks. 

The first set was highly contested between the two teams with ties at nearly every point of the game. Alden and Holterhaus broke the tie streak towards the end of the game with set-defining kills. The Panthers bounced back to win 25-23. While the next set was close, the Panthers kept the gas pedal on for the whole set. With help from big blocks from multiple players and a great team effort UNI won the penultimate set 25-20. Yet another closely contested game was in the books for the Panthers with the third set. The Panthers charged forward after a 13-13 tie to clinch the game with a final score of 25-18.

The Panthers look to clinch an outright regular season conference championship with upcoming wins at the McLeod Center as they face Southern Illinois on Friday at 6 p.m. and Missouri State on Saturday at 5 p.m.