CEDAR FALLS, Iowa- The University of Northern Iowa volleyball team defeated the Northern Illinois Huskies 3-1 in their home opener Tuesday night in the McLeod Center.
Amy Braun led the Panthers with 11 kills and Megan Lehman followed with 10 kills. Molly Turk notched 31 assists and Candice Burke had a season high 29 digs for the Panthers.
UNI jumped out to an early lead in the first set. With the score tied 2-2, several kills by Braun and Krista DeGeest helped the Panthers go on a 6-1 run to make it 8-3 at a Northern Illinois timeout. Northern Illinois started to slowly creep back to make the score 17-13, but this was the closest the Huskies came to the Panthers. UNI took off from there and won the set 25-19.
The second set went much the same set for UNI. The Panthers got the early 7-2 lead in the set thanks to kills from Braun and DeGeest and a service ace for Burke. The Huskies brought the match to within three at 14-11 UNI, but the Panthers then went on a 4-2 run to make it 18-13 at a Northern Illinois timeout. The Panthers dominated the rest of the set, winning it 25-15.
The third set was a rough one for the Panthers. They fell behind early and could not find their rhythm the whole set, and Northern Illinois won it 25-11.
With the score tied at 6-6 in the fourth set, a kill by DeGeest and blocks from DeGeest, Lehman and Turk helped the Panthers go on a 6-1 run to make it 12-7 at a Northern Illinois timeout. The Panthers continued to cruise after the timeout, and the Huskies could not keep up. UNI won the set 25-18, to win the match 3-1.
The Panthers will open up MVC play on Friday night when they take on Bradley University at 7:00 in the opening match of the CEFCU Classic in Peoria, Illinois.