UNI Sweeps Redbirds, Secures Regular-Season Split
Nov. 2, 2007
CEDAR FALLS, Iowa - M.C. Richmond recorded a team-best 11 kills and 15 digs, but Illinois State's volleyball team suffered a three-game sweep (30-23, 30-16 and 30-25) at the hands of host Northern Iowa in the Redbirds' first match at the new McLeod Center Friday night. The Redbirds have now lost four of their last five matches overall, and have dropped 10-consecutive decisions in Cedar Falls, Iowa.
With the loss, ISU drops to 15-10 overall, with an even 7-7 Missouri Valley Conference slate. UNI won its seventh straight match, and improved to 16-9 and 5-3.
Richmond was joined by Mallory Leggett (10 kills) with double-digit kills, while Erin Lindsey had 30 set assists and a team-leading 17 digs. UNI was paced by Ashten Stelken (13 kills) and Laura Rowen (10), leading a balanced .305 hitting effort for the Panthers.
"Northern Iowa served the ball very well tonight," said head coach Sharon Dingman. "We were asking our passers to sit back and adjust, and once we did that, we were able to get in system, but then we struggled to get kills.
"We really thought we could take advantage of some match-ups on the right side, so we had three different players playing that position. I thought Katie Culbertson played well, and that was a positive. But right now, we need to get better at both serving and passing."
There were a combined 11 ties and lead changes in game one, but Northern Iowa finished the stanza on a 9-2 run to claim a 30-23 win. The Panthers jumped out to an early 6-2 lead, but Illinois State responded with an 8-2 spurt to take a 10-9 advantage. The Redbirds received five kills from five different players in the stretch. UNI forced ISU into its first timeout eight points later, after going on a 6-2 run to claim a 15-12 lead. The Panthers extended their lead to six, 18-12, before Illinois State stormed back with 4-0 spree to pull within 18-16, and force UNI into a timeout.
ISU took its first lead of the game seven possessions later after three straight points, but UNI answered with five-consecutive points to take a commanding 25-21 lead. The Panthers finished the frame on a 5-2 spurt to secure the 30-23 win.
Northern Iowa claimed a dominating 30-16 win in game two, handing ISU its second-widest margin of defeat in a single-game this season. The Panthers took control early with an 8-4 run out of the gate. Laura Rowen had two kills and one block in the stretch. ISU was forced into its first timeout after falling behind 17-12, and after dropping the ensuing two points, called another timeout with UNI clinging to a convincing 20-12 lead. The Panthers' lead was extended to double-digits six points later, and grew to as large as 13 points three times down the stretch. The Redbirds scored just six points in the final 24 possessions.
Northern Iowa used a late run to post a 30-25 win in the decisive third game. The Redbirds broke an early 3-3 tie with a 9-3 run, and claimed a 12-6 lead. The Panthers ran out of timeouts 13 points later, after ISU capitalized on a 3-0 spree that resulted in an 18-13 cushion. But UNI answered with a 6-1 run to tie the match at 19-19 and force the Redbirds into their first timeout. The run continued out of the break, as the Panthers took control by claiming a four-point lead, 25-21. UNI settled to trade points down the stretch, and coasted to the 30-25 win.
Illinois State will return home to host rival Bradley Saturday at Redbird Arena. First serve is scheduled for 7:05 p.m.