Northern Iowa claims 12th State Farm Missouri Valley Conference Title
Nov. 25, 2006
The University of Northern Iowa claimed its 12th State Farm Missouri Valley Conference Volleyball Tournament title Saturday evening at Redbird Arena in Normal, Ill., with a 3-0 win over Missouri State.
Game scores in favor of UNI were 30-26, 30-24, 30-19.
Missouri State jumped out to a 4-1 lead in game one of the championship match, but UNI overtook the lead at 10-9 and led the rest of the way behind timely blocks and aggressive hitting, winning 30-26.
Amy Sampson's seven kills paced UNI as the Panthers hit .304 (19-5-46) as a team behind Kristin Belzung's 17 assists.
Erin O'Connor was tops for Missouri State with five kills (5-0-8, .625).
UNI pulled within a game of the conference championship, claiming game two 30-24.
The Panthers outhit the Bears .220 to .130 and received another five kills from Amy Sampson. Twenty UNI digs and an intimidating block paced the solid defensive effort.
MSU jumped out early again in game three, leading 4-0 before UNI got on the board.
Trailing 13-15, UNI went on a 7-0 run to grab a 20-15 lead it would not relinquish. The Panthers would claim seven of the final eight points in the 30-19 game three win.
Amy Sampson led the Panthers with 14 kills. Ashten Stelken added 12 for UNI and tournament MVP Kristin Belzung recorded 39 assists and 10 digs.
Missouri State concludes its regular-season with a 26-8 record.
UNI finishes the regular-season with a 27-7 overall record and receives the league's automatic bid into the NCAA tournament. The tournament title is the Panthers' 12th overall.