UNI volleyball stays perfect in MVC play - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

UNI volleyball stays perfect in MVC play

Cedar Falls, Iowa - Amy Sampson had 17 kills and Ashten Stelken added 13 as the University of Northern Iowa volleyball team recorded a 3-0 win over Southern Illinois tonight at the McLeod Center. Set scores were 25-13, 25-20 and 30-28. The Panthers improved to 16-2 overall and a perfect 6-0 in the Missouri Valley Conference, while the Salukis fell to 11-4 and 2-3 in the MVC.

UNI sophomore libero Ellie Blankenship recorded a season-high 27 digs, and sophomore Chelsea Saunders added a career-high 15. UNI had 81 digs on the evening, its most in a three-set match this year and just shy of its season-best total of 84 digs, set against Clemson in a 3-1 Panthers victory Sept. 6.

The Panthers scored the first three points of the match, including getting a service ace from setter Bre Payton. After SIU scored two straight, UNI went on a 7-0 run to extend its advantage to 10-2. Leading 14-6, Sampson had three kills during a 7-1 Panthers run that put UNI in front 20-7, en route to its 25-13 first-set win. UNI hit .290 (10-1-31) in the first set, while Southern Illinois hit -.023 (9-10-43).

Southern Illinois opened a 6-3 lead early in set two, but UNI got two kills from Sampson and one each from Payton and Michelle Burow as UNI took the lead back, 7-6. The score was even at 8-all before UNI scored five of the next seven points to move in front 13-10, forcing SIU to take timeout. UNI was in front 21-16, but SIU scored four of the next five to get within 22-20. Stelken stemmed the tide with a kill, and after a Saluki hitting error, Stelken had another kill on set point as UNI won, 25-20.

The third set was tied at 11, when SIU scored three straight to open its largest lead of the set. UNI answered with a 6-1 run of its own to move back in front, 17-15. The Salukis tied the score at 20-all, but UNI got a kill from Burow, one from Beth Discher and two from Stelken to move in front, 24-20. Southern Illinois would not quit, however, as it fought off four match points, getting back-to-back kills from Jennifer Berwanger to pull even at 24. UNI had two more match points with leads of 25-24 and 26-25, while SIU had set point at 27-26 and 28-27, but none of the four were converted to win the set. After the Panthers tied the score at 28-all, the Salukis had a hitting error, and Sampson then clinched the match with a smash to that found the middle of the court.

UNI plays host to Bradley next Saturday night (Oct. 11) as a part of homecoming festivities, with first serve from the McLeod Center set for 7:30 pm.

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