Redbirds Fall to Northern Iowa in Semifinal
Brookly Hlafka
Brookly Hlafka

Nov. 25, 2011

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Post-Match Interview with Melissa Myers

CEDAR FALLS, Iowa - The Illinois State volleyball team (18-14, 9-9 MVC) was defeated in three sets (25-15, 25-12, 25-12) by Northern Iowa (31-1, 18-0 MVC) in the semifinal match of the State Farm Missouri Valley Conference Tournament. The Redbirds were led by Brooklyn Hlafka with six kills and a .545 hitting percentage.

Northern Iowa was efficient and effective tonight," said head coach Melissa Myers. "It was a tough night for us, but we won't let one match dictate how our whole season ends and the good things we've learned. It's not going to overshadow the success that our seniors have had and the season we've had overall as a team."

The Panthers took control in the start of the first set with an 8-1 lead until the Redbirds were able get back within five points with a block and back-to-back kills from Angela Rego and Tabitha Visk. Illinois State continued to fight and was able to put together a two-point string off a UNI attack error and a service ace from Jenny Menendez, but two kills and two blocks from Krista DeGeest put the Panthers ahead 18-8. ISU was able to post three-consecutive kills late in the set, but was defeated 25-15.

Illinois State started 2-0 in the second set, but aggressive UNI blocking took place early to tie the set 2-2. The Redbirds were able to combine a three-point run with a UNI attack error and kills from Rego and Hlafka, but couldn't regain the lead. Northern Iowa broke away at the half way point and compiled a nine-point run with Bre Payton at the service line. Payton posted two aces and the Panthers tallied seven blocks, closing the set 25-12.

UNI started out with a 3-0 lead in the third set and quickly broke away to a 10-4 lead. A kill from Emily Schneider broke the run, but the Panthers continued to press to a 15-6 advantage. Illinois State compiled a two-point string, but followed it with three unforced errors. Hlafka led the way notching four of her six kills in the third set, but the team struggled offensively with a -.031 hitting percentage compared to UNI's .321.

Northern Iowa will face Wichita State in the championship match Saturday, Nov. 26 at 6:37 p.m.

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