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Volleyball continues successful season, 23-6

GABRIELLE LEITNER

GABRIELLE LEITNER

EMMETT LYNCH, Sports Writer

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The UNI volleyball team now holds an impressive overall record of 23-6. The Panthers created another series of victories after a tough Missouri Valley Conference setback to Missouri State in the McLeod Center last week on Hawaiian Night.

UNI’s road to their three-game win streak began with Drake University for the annual ‘Pink Game’ in the McLeod Center on Oct. 17. The Panthers beat the Drake Bulldogs in a 3-0 win.

Leading the victory was Junior Bri Weber, who put together a 21 kill, 14 dig effort in the victory against Drake. Weber’s 21 kills marked the most a Panther has recorded in a three-set match since the NCAA made a rule to use 25-point sets in 2008.

Sophomore Karlie Taylor had a productive game as well, recording 20 digs and 10 kills. This marked Taylor’s 16th straight double figure kill match, this also being her sixth consecutive match recording a double-double.

Junior Piper Thomas added 11 kills in 22 attempts. Thomas is currently leading the league in attacks. Her percentage leads the Missouri Valley.

The next on their streak was Loyola University for ‘80’s Night’ in Cedar Falls. This matchup resulted in another 3-0 victory for the Panthers. UNI posted a .379 hitting percentage with 43 kills, while the Ramblers had a .000 hitting percentage and recorded only 22 kills.

Karlie Taylor kept another streak going by notching her 17th-straight double-figure kill match, recording 12 kills in the match. Thomas complemented the game with a .733 hitting percentage.

The Panthers then topped off the win streak with another home victory against Valparaiso in the ‘Purple Pride Game’. This was a tightly-knit five-set matchup with UNI winning 3-2.

This win marked the 35th 20-win season in program history. Thomas recorded a match-high 22 kills for the Panthers. UNI has faced Valparaiso two times this season, with Thomas post 45 kills in the two matches against the Crusaders. Taylor set a career-high with six blocks, five of them being solo.

Taylor continued to add to her double-figure kill routine with 19 kills and her eighth consecutive double-double with 14 digs.

The Panthers win streak came to an end against Illinois State in a tough 2-3 loss on the road in Normal, Illinois. In the matchup, Thomas posted a career-high 24 kills with a .355 hitting percentage.

Senior Heather Hook also recorded a career-high with 23 digs, reaching a double-double with 55 assists. Junior Kendyl Sorge joined the mix, notching a season-high 30 digs in this match.

The Panthers then went on to bounce back from the loss and created yet another three-game win streak to come out on top against Bradley University in Peoria, Illinois. This was a sweep victory for the Panthers.

UNI posted 76 digs in this matchup. 21 of those digs belonged to Sorge. Taylor posted her 18th double-double with 13 kills and 13 digs against the Braves. Then, leading to another 3-0 sweep victory against Evansville, UNI had 53 digs and 45 kills on the night.

The UNI Volleyball team then capped off the week with a victory at home against  the Indiana Sycamores on Senior Night. This was UNI’s final home match of the season. Senior setter Hook went out with a bang by surpassing her 4,000 career assists.

Hook posted 37 assists, nine digs and six kills in the victory against the Sycamores. Thomas also reached new highs by recording her 1,000th career kill. She posted 13 kills, along with Karlie Taylor adding another 13. UNI is 682-9 when winning the first two sets in a match.

This was the final home game for UNI volleyball this season, and it ended in a sweep victory. UNI is set to take on MVC foe Missouri State in Springfield, Missouri on Nov. 11.

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Volleyball continues successful season, 23-6