CEDAR FALLS, Ia.- The University of Northern Iowa volleyball team defeated the Evansville Purple Aces 3-1 in front of the home crowd Friday night. The Panthers are now 7-1 in the Missouri Valley Conference and still tied for first place with Creighton.
Megan Lehman led the way for the Panthers with 22 kills, a career high for her, and a .459 hitting percentage. Macy Ubben followed with 19 kills, also a career high for her. Molly Turk had 54 assists and Candice Burke tied her career best of 35 digs. Krista DeGeest picked up her 500th career block in the match as well.
UNI grabbed the lead early on in the first set. The Panthers built up a five point lead at 10-5 at the first timeout of the set. Evansville slowly started coming back and eventually tied it up at 16-16. An attack error by UNI gave Evansville the 17-16 lead. The Purple Aces took over the set from there, and the Panthers could not answer. Evansville won the set 25-21.
In the second set, Evansville had the early 7-3 lead, but the Panthers fought back and tied it up at 12-12. A kill by Macy Ubben in the next play helped spark a 6-2 run that gave the Panthers the 18-14 lead. UNI maintained the lead the rest of the set and won it 25-19.
With the score tied at 8-8 in the third set, a kill by Evansville gave them the 9-8 lead. The Purple Aces held a small lead throughout the set until the Panthers tied it up at 16-16. The score was tied up twice more in the set until it stood at 19-19. Back-to-back kills by Ubben gave UNI the 21-19 lead. Evansville brought it back to within one on the next play, but the Panthers held them off the rest of the set and won it 25-21.
The Panthers took a commanding 8-0 lead at the start of the fourth set. Evansville brought the score to within three at 14-11, but UNI went on a 4-0 run after that to make it 18-11. The Panthers cruised through the rest of the set to win it 25-17 and the match 3-1.
UNI will return to the court tomorrow night when they take on Southern Illinois at 7:00 p.m. in the McLeod Center.