Illinois State Beats UNI for MVC Volleyball Championship
Illinois State captured the school’s 10th Missouri Valley Conference Tournament title, but the first since 1997, as the top seed bested the host University of Northern Iowa in four games on Saturday, November 29, 2014 in the McLeod Center.
"We came out with a lot of energy and a lot of fight," UNI head coach Bobbi Petersen said after the championship game. "We just weren't able to sustain that, and a big part of that is what Illinois State does. They wear you down. They play great defense."
Watch more of Coach Petersen's post-game press conference.
The Redbirds won by set scores of 17-25, 25-17, 25-20, 25-13.
Illinois State has won 22-straight matches and improved to 26-5 on the season. UNI falls to 21-11 on the season.
UNI got the home crowd going early with an 11-1 run to initiate the match. Illinois State climbed back into the set at 12-6 and would get as close at 17-13. However, the Panthers rode a balanced effort in game one with a trio of players earning three kills (Kayla Haneline, Kinsey Caldwell, Eryca Hingtgen) in taking the first set, 25-17. Hingtgen also added nine digs. Illinois State was held to an .061 hitting percentage with 10 kills and seven errors.
Illinois State evened the match at 1-1 with a 25-17 victory in the second set. The Redbirds led 6-2 leading to a Panther timeout. UNI used its second timeout of the set when the Redbirds extended the lead to 11-5. UNI cut the lead to two at 13-11, but the Redbirds pushed the margin back to six at 18-12. UNI made another push and cut the lead to 20-17, only to see Illinois State score the final five points of the set. Illinois State hit .235 in the second set with 16 kills and only four errors. UNI hit .041 in the set with 10 kills and eight errors. Illinois State’s Ashley Rosch posted seven kills and a .375 hitting percentage in the second stanza.
The Redbirds took a 2-1 set lead with a 25-20 win in the third set. Illinois State used a 7-0 after trailing by five points at 12-7. UNI retied the set at 14-14 only to see the Redbirds take an 18-15 lead. The Redbirds’s lead was down to two at 21-19 before the top-seed scored four of the last five points of the pivotal third set. Illinois State had a .311 hitting percentage with 19 kills and five errors in the set.
Illinois State closed out the match with a 25-13 win in the fourth set. The Redbirds led 10-5 before the Panthers clawed back to within 11-9. However, the Redbirds used a decisive 8-1 run to push the lead to 19-10. The Redbirds scored the final four points of the match to clinch the MVC tournament title.
Teams will find out its NCAA Tournament matchup tomorrow night, as the selection show will air on ESPNU at 7:30 p.m. (CST).