UNI takes one of three matches at Illinois Tournament

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UNI takes one of three matches at Illinois Tournament

The Panthers (6-6) will open Missouri Valley Conference play this Friday as they travel to Des Moines to take on the Drake Bulldogs (11-3).

The Panthers (6-6) will open Missouri Valley Conference play this Friday as they travel to Des Moines to take on the Drake Bulldogs (11-3).

Courtesy Photo/UNI Athletics

The Panthers (6-6) will open Missouri Valley Conference play this Friday as they travel to Des Moines to take on the Drake Bulldogs (11-3).

Courtesy Photo/UNI Athletics

Courtesy Photo/UNI Athletics

The Panthers (6-6) will open Missouri Valley Conference play this Friday as they travel to Des Moines to take on the Drake Bulldogs (11-3).

ELIOT CLOUGH, Sports Writer

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The UNI volleyball team travelled to Champaign, Illinois to compete in the Illini Classic this past weekend. In their three competitions over the weekend, the Panthers competed against the Lipscomb Bisons, the Illinois Fighting Illini and Creighton Bluejays. 

In their first match against Lipscomb, the Panthers defeated the Bison 3-0 in sets resulting in 25-17, 25-20 and 25-16. In total for these sets, Lipscomb only lead at one point, 1-0 in the third and final game. Karlie Taylor and Piper Thomas led the way in kills for the Panthers with 14 each. Rachel Koop also had 33 assists and Kendyl Sorge had 10 digs for UNI. 

For their second match of the weekend, the Panthers were matched up with the eighth ranked team in the nation, the Fighting Illini. The Illini took the match 3-0, defeating the Panthers 25-13, 26-24, and 25-21.

The Panthers took multiple leads in the second and third sets, but were unable to hold on, losing both sets in close fashion. Taylor led the women with 13 kills, Koop had 22 assists, and Sorge was able to perform 10 digs for the Panthers. 

In their rematch with the tenth ranked Creighton, the Blue Jays were able to avenge an early season 3-0 loss to the Panthers, defeating UNI in straight sets, 25-16, 25-21, 25-11.

The second set was the only one in which the Panthers were able to gain any sort of offensive momentum, going point for point with the Bluejays until they both reached a score of 14. Following this, Creighton went on a run, never looking back and taking the match against the Panthers.

Thomas led the Panthers with 11 kills, Koop had a team high of 23 assists, and Sorge had 17 digs.

The Panthers open up conference play for the season, taking on the Drake Bulldogs in Des Moines this coming Friday. The Bulldogs are currently 11-1. 

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