Redbirds Hold Off Panthers in First-Place Battle, 3-1
The Illinois State University Redbirds snapped a 16-match losing skid against the University of Northern Iowa Panther volleyball squad with a 3-1 victory over the Panthers at Redbird Arena on Friday night. The Redbirds won by set scores of 25-20, 20-25, 25-17, 25-23.
Illinois State (14-5 overall) moves into sole possession of first place in the Missouri Valley Conference standings with the victory. The Redbirds are 8-0 in league play. The loss drops UNI to 12-7 overall and 7-1 in league play.
The Redbirds took the opening set, 25-20. Illinois State used a 7-2 run to take a 14-8 advantage. UNI cut the lead to 15-12 before the Redbirds pushed it back to 18-12. The Redbirds pushed the lead to seven at 21-14. UNI could only cut the lead to 23-20 before the Redbirds scored the final two points of the first set. Illinois State hit .385 with 17 kills and two errors in the opening set. The Panthers hit .225 with 16 kills and seven errors in the first set.
The second set saw six early ties before UNI was able to extend out to a four-point lead at 12-8. The Redbirds scored four in a row to tie it up at 12-12. UNI came out of the timeout and scored five consecutive points to take control of the set. The Panthers were able to even match at 1-1 with a 25-20 win in the second set. UNI limited Illinois State to an .098 hitting percentage in the second set as the Redbirds had 11 kills and six errors. The Panthers pounded down 18 kills and only four errors in the second stanza.
The Redbirds came back to win the third set, 25-17, and take a 2-1 lead. UNI led 9-7 before Illinois State used an 8-1 run to take control of the set. The Redbirds would eventually lead by as many as nine points in the set before closing it out, 25-17. Illinois State hit .325 in the third set with 18 kills and only five attack errors, while UNI was limited to an .071 hitting percentage with eight kills and six attack errors.
Illinois State closed out the match with a 25-23 win in the fourth set. The teams were tied at 5-5, but the Redbirds used a 7-0 run to take a 12-5 advantage. The Redbirds appeared to be in total control of the fourth set leading 22-14, but the Panthers had other ideas. UNI scored seven consecutive points – two of which came on service aces from Haley Wandrey – to pull within 22-21. The Redbirds would not relinquish the lead and were able to hang on, 25-23.
UNI will be back in action Saturday night in Terre Haute, Ind., taking on the Indiana State Sycamores. The match will begin at 6 p.m. (CT).
- Eryca Hingtgen posted her 10th double-double of the season with 14 kills and 14 digs
- Kinsey Caldwell notched her eighth double-double of the year with 47 assists and 21 digs
- Haley Wandrey added a service ace for the fifth consecutive match
- UNI became only the second MVC school to take a set off the Redbirds this season (Southern Illinois lost to the Redbirds, 3-1, on Sept. 26)