CEDAR FALLS, Iowa - The University of Northern Iowa volleyball team dropped its contest with the University of Florida in the second round of the NCAA Division I Championship Tournament on Saturday night in the McLeod Center. Set scores were 25-16, 14-25, 14-25, 22-25.
UNI hit .187 for the match and Florida posted a .281 mark. Junior middle blocker Krista DeGeest posted 13 kills in the match for the Panthers. Senior middle blocker Michelle Burow and junior outside hitter Amy Braun tallied 12 and 10 kills respectively. Senior setter Bre Payton recorded 40 assists in the match.
The first set started off even as the Panthers and Gators traded points through the first eighteen scores of the match. The Panthers then ripped off a 13-4 run to take the lead, 22-13, behind three kills from Amy Braun and two kills from Krista DeGeest. Michelle Burow, junior outside hitter Megan Lehman, and Bre Payton each added tallied a kill in the run for UNI. The Panthers clinched the opening set victory on a kill by sophomore middle blocker Shelby Kintzel, 25-16.
UNI posted a hitting percentage of .295 in the first set and held the Gators to a .100 hitting percentage. Krista DeGeest led the Panther offensive attack with five kills in the first set. Amy Braun and Michelle Burow chipped in with four kills a-piece in the opening set and Bre Payton recorded 14 assists.
The Gators opened up a 12-6 lead in the second set with a kill and three service aces from Kristy Jaeckel, and a kill a-piece from Kelly Murphy, Chloe Mann, Stephanie Ferrell, Betsy Smith, and Tangerine Wiggs. The Gators stretched the lead to 21-12 and took the set 25-14.
Florida (26-5) hit .379 in the second set to UNI's .133. Megan Lehman and Bre Payton had three kills in the set for the Panthers.
The Panthers and Gators traded points back and forth to open the third set, pushing the score to 7-7. Florida then took the lead 10-7 on two kills from Kristy Jaeckel. UNI would get no closer than three the rest of the way as Florida went on to win the set, 25-14.
Florida hit .517 percent in the third set and held the Panthers to a .114 percentage. Michelle Burow tallied three kills in the third set and teammates Bre Payton, Krista DeGeest, and Amy Braun had two kills for the Panthers.
The fourth set was knotted at 6-6 before the Gators rallied for a 10-3 run to take the lead at 16-9. The Gators pushed the lead to 20-11 before UNI strung together a 7-2 run, cutting the Florida lead to 22-18. A kill by Krista DeGeest cut the Florida lead to two at 23-21 but the Gators capitalized on two UNI attack errors to win the set and match.
The Panthers hit .187 in the fourth set to Florida's .216. Kelly Murphy finished with 15 kills and 20 assists for the Gators. Teammate Kristy Jaeckel tallied 13 kills and four service aces in the match.
UNI finishes with an overall record of 33-2. Florida will advance to the Sweet Sixteen of the NCAA Division I National Championship Tournament to face the winner of the No. 11-seeded Stanford Cardinal and the Michigan Wolverines on Dec. 9 in Gainesville, Fla.