Media Day at McLeod; Panthers Prepare For New Season - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Media Day at McLeod; Panthers Prepare For New Season

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    Get the latest news and sports information about the University of Northern Iowa Panthers sports teams, including football, basketball, volleyball, baseball and softball.More >>
    Get the latest news and sports information about the University of Northern Iowa Panthers sports teams, including football, basketball, volleyball, baseball and softball.More >>

It was media day at the McLeod Center on Wednesday afternoon for the UNI Panthers volleyball team.  The Panthers are looking to make it back to the NCAA Tournament after getting bounced in the first round following a 19-15 season.  The Panthers return seven starters from a year ago, including Kayla Haneline who led the team in kills last season with 420.  Also returning is senior defensive specialist Amie Held and a trio of talented Eastern Iowa sophomores; Bri Weber, Kendyl Sorge and Piper Thomas.

UNI was recently predicted to finish 4th in the Missouri Valley Conference this season, a prediction the Panthers are focused on beating.

"The polls came out and we're preseason picked fourth, which I'll tell you if you look on paper and you see what we did last year I can understand why we were picked fourth."  Said head coach Bobbi Petersen,  "but I'll also tell you that is not a goal of our team, that is not the goal of our program. We will be fighting for a conference championship our kids believe they can win a conference championship."

In fact the low ranking has served as a motivator for the team.  "We actually talked about it in the locker room today when we found out and it gives a little bit of fire." Added sophomore middle hitter Piper Thomas, "we think we can be number one every time so it kind of gives that fire to work hard in practice."

And the Panthers have what it takes to make this a successful season.  "This year is going to be a successful year because we are just fighters.  Said sophomore libero Kendyl Sorge,  "I think a lot of girls on this team are so competitive, so hard working so every one is dedicated and we're just willing to do whatever it takes to try and win it all. "

The Panthers begin their season August 26th at the Michigan Invitational, their first home match at the McLeod Center is September 13th vs Iowa State.

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