Panthers Hand Redbirds First Conference Loss, 3-1
Oct. 18, 2013
CEDAR FALLS, Iowa - For the first time this season, the Illinois State volleyball team (14-5, 7-1) lost to a conference opponent as the Northern Iowa Panthers (14-6, 6-2) defeated ISU in four sets (23-25, 25-17, 21-25, 23-25) Friday. The loss drops the Redbirds to second place in the Missouri Valley Conference (MVC) following a win by Wichita State.
The Redbirds were led by Stacey Niao who collected 10 kills while Emily Orrick tied her career-high with 30 digs. Ashley Rosch added eight kills and 15 digs while conference player of the week Kaitlyn Early amassed 28 assists, 13 digs, five kills and four service aces. The loss extends the Panthers win-streak against Illinois State to 15 matches and 19 in a row at the McLeod Center.
In the first set, the Panthers jumped out to a 3-0 lead on two kills by Courtney Kintzel and a Redbird error. Error-laden play by both teams plagued the first set, as Kintzel eventually added two more kills, Shelby Kintzel added four, and UNI jumped out to an 18-13 lead. A kill by Brooklyn Hlafka and back to back kills by Niao combined with two Panther errors allowed ISU to even the first set, 18-18. After trading jabs, the first set was tied 23-23 before the Panthers got consecutive kills, including the final kill by Eryca Hingtgen, to put away the first set, 25-23.
The Redbirds responded in the second set, as they outhit the Panthers .154 to -.025. Tied 14-14 midway through the set, back to back kills by Hlafka, a kill by Early and two Panther errors gave ISU a five-point advantage, 19-14. Three kills by Rosch and a pair of UNI errors gave ISU a set-point before Emily Schneider tied the match with a kill, giving ISU the second set, 25-17.
Out of the locker room following halftime, UNI recorded their best offensive-set of the match, hitting .241 as a team. Tied late in the set at 18-18, three kills by Hingtgen combined with three errors by ISU gave the Panthers the third set, 25-21. Hingtgen and Macy Ubben each had six total kills in the set. Orrick collected 10 digs in the set as ISU managed just one block against the Panthers offense.
In the final set, Ubben caught fire again for the Panthers, knocking six more kills while the Kintzel sisters each had three. Tied 13-13, a kill by Hlafka momentarily gave ISU the small edge. A setting-error by ISU allowed UNI to even things up, and the teams continue to exchange points on a slew of errors deep into the set. Tied 23-23, Hingtgen and Ubben each collected a kill over the final two points and UNI sent the Redbirds to their first loss in conference play.
The Redbirds will return to action against Drake Saturday, Oct. 19, in Des Moines, Iowa at 7 p.m. (CT).
All Redbirds matches can be heard live on GoRedbirds.com and WJBC.com.
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