The UNI Panthers volleyball team are ranked third in the first 2015/2016 Missouri Valley Conference poll of the season. The program's Purple & Gold Scrimmage is set for Sunday, August 23, at 3:00 PM in the McLeod Center.

Fresh off its 12th consecutive 20-win season, Wichita State has been tabbed as the league favorite in the annual coaches’ preseason poll, receiving 97 points and seven first-place votes. The Shockers out-distanced second-place pick Missouri State (87 points, one first-place vote), third-place UNI (76 points, one first-place vote) and fourth-place Southern Illinois (72 points, one first-place vote).

UNI Volleyball (Credit: MVC)

The Panthers bring back three starters, plus the libero, from a 21-11 (14-4 MVC) season. It marked the the 17th-straight season the team scored at least 20 wins or more in a season.

In the middle, junior Kayla Haneline (338 kills, 106 blocks), a first team all-MVC selection in 2014, returns as UNI's 'go-to' option offensively, and will be joined by senior middle blocker Autumn Alitz (206 kills, 93 blocks) and sophomore outside hitter Lindsey Schulz (265 kills, 84 blocks).

Junior libero Amie Held (455 digs, 12 aces), a second team all-conference performer last season, returns to the floor for the Panthers, while junior, and Waterloo Columbus alum, Ashlee Sinnott (348 digs, 29 aces) and senior Haley Wandrey (275 digs, 22 aces) will add to the depth in the back row.

An exciting freshman class joined the young Panthers squad featuring four former CV/NEI Sports standouts.  UNI added Rachel Koop (Dike, IA), Kendyl Sorge (Janesville, IA), Piper Thomas (Jesup, IA) and Bri Weber (Dike, IA) this pas off season.

The University of Northern Iowa volleyball program's Purple & Gold Scrimmage is set for Sun., August 23, 2015 at 3:00 PM in the McLeod Center. Admission is free to the public.

The Panthers will open the 2015 regular season Aug. 28 against UC Davis at the Rams Volleyball Classic in Fort Collins, Colo. UNI's first home match of the season will occur on Sept. 4 when the Panthers tangle with the Kentucky Wildcats in the UNI Volleyball Tournament held in the McLeod Center. Ticket details can be found here.

MISSOURI VALLEY CONFERENCE: Volleyball Preview