Panthers Post 3-2 Win at Southern Illinois - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Panthers Post 3-2 Win at Southern Illinois

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CARBONDALE, IL (KWWL/UNI) -- After dropping the first two sets, the University of Northern Iowa volleyball team came roaring back to post a 3-2 win at Southern Illinois tonight at Davies Gymnasium. Scores in favor of the Panthers were 22-25, 16-25, 25-20, 25-13 and 15-11.

It was the second straight 3-2 win for the UNI, after its 3-2 victory over Illinois State Oct. 25 at the McLeod Center. The last time the Panthers dropped the first two sets on the road and came back to win a match was Sept. 23, 2006 at Missouri State.

Shannon Aschoff led UNI's offensive attack with 18 kills, while Amy Sampson had 17 and Ashten Stelken 13. Four Panthers reached double-digits in digs, led by Ellie Blankenship with 18. Jennifer Berwanger led Southern Illinois with 16 kills.

UNI led 7-4 in the first set before the Salukis scored the next three to pull even. UNI broke a 9-9 tie by scoring five of the next six points to move in front 14-10. The Panthers held a 17-13 lead, but SIU was able to pull even at 19-all. The Salukis moved in front for good, 22-21, and after the Panthers got within 23-22, SIU scored the final two points to win the opening set, 25-22.

Southern Illinois never trailed in the second set. The Salukis opened leads of 5-0, 13-5 and 19-10 en route to the 25-16 victory. UNI hit .000 in the second set (9-9-37), while Southern Illinois hit .235 (11-3-34).

The Panthers started their comeback in the third set, opening an 8-4 lead at the start. UNI moved out to as much as a 20-13 lead, and although the Salukis got as close as 23-19, UNI was able to post the 25-20 win.

Building on that momentum, UNI used an early 9-0 run to open an 11-2 lead to start set four, and never looked back. The Panthers held a double-digit lead most of the way, as they held SIU to -.028 hitting (7-8-36) in the 25-13 victory, forcing set five.

UNI never trailed in the fifth set. The Panthers led 6-2 at the start, as Beth Discher, Aschoff and Stelken each had kills. The Panthers led 12-7 before SIU made a late push, scoring four of the next five to get within 13-11. But after a UNI timeout, Stelken and Discher teamed up on a block, and Stelken had the decisive kill to give the Panthers the 15-11 win and the match victory.

With the win, UNI improved to 20-4 overall and 10-2 in the Missouri Valley Conference, while Southern Illinois fell to 14-8, 4-7 in The Valley. The Panthers travel to Evansville Saturday (Nov. 1) with first serve at 5 pm.

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