LOS ANGELES, Calif.- The No. 23 University of Northern Iowa women's volleyball team got the 3-0 sweep over the Mississippi State Bulldogs Saturday afternoon in Los Angeles, California. This was the final match for the Panthers in the Luxe City Center Trojan Invitational who went 2-1 in the tournament. Mississippi State will face No. 5 USC later tonight.
Krista DeGeest led the Panthers with 15 kills and Megan Lehman followed with 12 kills. Molly Turk recorded 38 assists for UNI and Candice Burke put 18 digs on the board.
With the Panthers behind 2-4 in the first set, three straight kills from Amy Braun, Turk and DeGeest gave the Panthers the 5-4 lead. After going back and forth for multiple plays, the score was tied at 9-9. A block by Shelby Kintzel and Turk gave UNI the 10-9 lead, but Mississippi State took advantage of a service error on the next play and tied it at 10-10. This sparked a 9-6 run for the Panthers to make it 19-16 at a Mississippi State timeout. Mississippi State could not keep up with the Panthers and UNI won the set 25-20.
The second set was a battle for the two teams. The Panthers and Bulldogs went back and forth during the beginning of the set and the score was eventually tied at 10-10. A kill by Kintzel and a service error by the Bulldogs gave UNI the 12-10 lead. Mississippi State then went on a 4-0 run to take the lead at 14-12. The Bulldogs kept the lead and at a UNI timeout the Panthers were behind 17-21. Two kills from Turk and a kill from DeGeest helped UNI get back in the game and tie it at 23-23. A kill by Taylor Scott of the Bulldogs gave them the lead at 24-23 but a kill by Kintzel tied it back up at 24-24. UNI took advantage of two attack errors by the Bulldogs to win the set 26-24.
The third set went much like the first for the Panthers. With the score tied at 7-7, Turk got a kill that gave them the 8-7 lead. Two straight kills from Lehman boosted the UNI lead to 10-7 and the Panthers cruised from there. UNI won the set 25-20 to win the match 3-0.
The Panthers will take on in-state rivals No. 15 Iowa State on Wednesday in Ames at 6:30 p.m.