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Northern Iowan

The student news site of the University of Northern Iowa

Northern Iowan

The student news site of the University of Northern Iowa

Northern Iowan

Panthers fall in first round

The Volleyball team poses for a team photo. The team finished with a 26-7 regular season record as well as the title of MVC Champions.

UURTESY Panthers traveled to Madison, Wis. on Nov. 30 to compete in the NCAA Tournament against the Miami (FL) Hurricanes. This was UNI’s first all-time meeting with Miami, and the Panthers fought hard down the stretch, despite coming up short 3-1. 

Inside of a packed atmosphere at the UW Field House, UNI had to overcome a tough start after dropping the first two sets. In the third set the Panthers rallied for a five point victory before dropping the fourth. The loss snapped a 21 game win streak, the fourth longest active run in the nation and the eighth longest in school history. 

The Panthers opened the first set by scoring the first two points. Miami responded quickly, scoring seven straight to take a commanding 7-2 lead. UNI, undeterred, battled back by scoring four straight points themselves. In a back-and-forth match Miami held off a strong Panther attack, winning 25-23. 

Erin Powers got the Panthers rolling with back to back service aces in the first, while Layanna Green provided a spark with a kill late in the set to cut the lead 21-20. 

In the second set Miami came out hot by scoring the first five points. Olivia Tjernagel’s kill midway through the set cut the lead to one, 14-13. The early lead proved costly as the Hurricanes won 25-19. UNI stayed within five points for a majority of the set but was never able to take the lead. 

The Miami defense stifled the UNI attack throughout the second set, holding the Panthers to a .067 hitting with 13 kills and 11 attack errors. 

Not ready to give up, UNI’s offense came roaring back in the third set. The Panthers had four attack errors on .405 hitting with 19 team kills. UNI scored the first three points of the set and controlled for the remainder of the match, never giving up their lead. 

In the fourth and ultimately final set, UNI and Miami went back and forth, but could not cut into the Hurricane lead. Grace Lopez of Miami led the way for the Hurricanes finishing the night with 30 kills. In the final set Miami finished the night with a .408 hitting mark and 17 team kills. 

Kira Fallert finished the night for the Panthers with 18 kills, while Tjernagel ended the night with 11 kills and a pair of block assists. In the final match of her career, Emily Holterhaus finished with 10 kills and seven digs, and Kaylissa Arndorfer added eight kills of her own. Tayler Alden ended with a match high 48 assists and Powers contributed 12 digs.

Although the Panthers came up short in the NCAA Tournament, they finished the 2023 season with a 26-7 record and were crowned as both the Missouri Valley Conference (MVC) regular season and tournament champions. Congratulations to the team on a great season!

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