CEDAR FALLS, IOWA - The University of Northern Iowa women's volleyball team captured its third straight State Farm Missouri Valley Conference Tournament championship with a 3-0 sweep of Wichita State University in the McLeod Center. Set scores were 25-25, 29-27, 25-20.
In set one, Wichita State held a 13-9 lead before the Panthers charged back. A 6-0 run by the Panthers erased a 15-12 deficit and turned it into an 18-15 advantage for the home squad. Senior Michelle Burow's third kill of the first set gave UNI a 23-18 advantage. The Shockers responded with a 3-0 run to trim the lead to 23-21. UNI was able to close out the first set on a service error by the Shockers' Camri Zwiesler, 25-23. UNI's Bre Payton recorded four kills, three digs and 12 assists in the opening game. WSU's Zwiesler tallied a set-high six kills.
The Shockers again opened up an early lead in the second set at 9-5 only to see the Panthers come back and take an 11-10 lead. UNI pushed the lead to 16-13, but the Shockers quickly evened it up at 16-16 and forced a timeout from the Panthers' head coach Bobbi Petersen.
The second set was tied at 19-19, 20-20, 21-21 and 22-22 before the Shockers gained a 24-22 lead. However, the Panthers rallied again with three straight points to take a 25-24 lead. WSU knotted it back up at 25-25. The see-saw affair continued until the Panthers were able to secure back-to-back points and took the second set, 29-27.
Payton again led the Panthers in set two with five kills, seven digs and 13 assists. WSU's Emily Adney posted eight kills in the second set.
WSU jumped to a 9-5 lead in set three but again saw the Panthers charge back and take a 17-12 lead to culminate a 12-3 run. The Shockers refused to fold and rallied for three straight points to pull within a point at 17-16. UNI came right back with five consecutive points to open up a 22-16 advantage. UNI then closed out the set and the match with a 25-20 triumph.
The NCAA volleyball selection show will be televised live Sunday at 5 p.m. on ESPNU. The UNI volleyball team will watch the show in the McLeod Center Alumni Suite. The selection show gathering party is open to the public.
NOTES: UNI has won 15 MVC tournament titles and 10 of the last 14 ... UNI is 14-2 all-time at home in the MVC Tournament ... UNI has won 60 consecutive matches against MVC competition ... UNI's Michelle Burow moved into the top-10 all-time list for kills as a Panther ... Burow came into the MVC tournament final needing two kills to tie Maryellen McCann (1984-87) with 1,226 kills ... UNI's Shelby Kintzel was awarded the MVC's Elite 18 Award - modeled after the NCAA's Elite 88 Award, given to the highest achieving participating student-athlete at the championship ... Kintzel has posted a perfect 4.0 grade point average in elementary education ... UNI's double-sweep in the semifinals and finals of the MVC tournament was the first double-sweep at the MVC tournament since the Panthers also did it in the 2006 MVC Tournament.
2011 State Farm MVC All-Tournament Team
Bre Payton (UNI), MVP
MaryElizabeth Hooper (Wichita State)
Emily Adney (Wichita State)
Amy Braun (UNI)
Krista DeGeest (UNI)
Shea Doran (Indiana State)
Karisa Almgren (Creighton)
Kelley Michnowicz (Missouri State)
Kristin Stauter (Illinois State)