CEDAR FALLS, Iowa- The University of Northern Iowa volleyball team defeated the Illinois State Redbirds 3-1 Friday night in the McLeod Center. Illinois State was undefeated in the MVC before tonight.
Macy Ubben led the Panthers with 16 kills. Kinsey Caldwell recorded 39 assists, and Amie Held tallied 26 digs for UNI.
The Panthers jumped out to an early 7-3 lead in the first set. Kills by Eryca Hingtgen and Shelby Kintzel helped UNI to go on a 7-2 run to increase their lead to 14-5. Illinois State slowly started coming back and eventually tied the set up at 18-18. An attack error by UNI in the next play gave the Redbirds the 19-18 lead, but a service error by Illinois State allowed UNI to tie it at 19-19. The set went back and forth like this until it was tied at 23-23. Back-to-back kills from Shelby Kintzel and Hintgen gave the Panthers the 25-23 set win.
In the second set, Illinois State reserved the roles and took the 7-4 lead early on. Kills from Courtney and Shelby Kintzel and Macy Ubben helped the Panthers bring it back to within one at 12-11, ISU. The Redbirds regained the momentum and went on to win the set 25-17 and tie the match 1-1.
With the score tied 7-7 in the third set, an attack error by Illinois State gave the Panthers the 8-7 lead. A kill by the Redbirds in the next play helped them go on a 4-2 run to take the 21-9 lead. The Panthers battled their way back to tie the set at 17-17. A kill by Illinois State gave them the 18-17 lead. A kill by Hingtgen in the next play sparked a 7-3 run by UNI to gave them the 25-21 set win and 2-1 match lead.
UNI took the 7-3 lead at the start of the fourth set. Illinois State came back, though, and tied the set at 16-16. An attack error by the Redbirds and a service ace by Amie Held gave UNI the 18-16 lead. The Panthers held the lead until the very end when Illinois State tied the set at 23-23. A kill by Hingtgen followed by a kill by Ubben gave the Panthers the 25-23 set win and the 3-1 match victory.
The Panthers will return to the court tomorrow night when they host Indiana State at 7 p.m. in the McLeod Center. Fans can use their UNI vs. South Dakota football tickets to get into the volleyball game for free.