Sept. 28, 2013
CEDAR FALLS, Iowa -- The Missouri State volleyball team won the first two sets at Northern Iowa Saturday and looked primed for its first victory over the Panthers in Cedar Falls in two decades when UNI came back to win the final three sets in a 3-2 victory.
UNI improved to 9-5 overall and 2-1 in Missouri Valley Conference play, winning by set scores of 14-25, 23-25, 25-15, 25-21, 15-10. Missouri State dropped to 9-6 and 1-2 in league matches.
The Bears were nearly flawless in the first set, turning 16 of their 23 attacks into kills and hitting .609 as a team. Missouri State closed on a 13-2 run after the score was tied at 12-12, with four players recording at least three kills. Amber Doolittle had two kills and a block during a 6-0 run for an 18-12 advantage and the Bears cruised from there for the comfortable win.
UNI seized control midway through the second set with six consecutive kills for a 14-9 advantage before a pair of Doolittle blocks and a kill from Karen Rivatto began the MSU comeback by pulling the Bears within a point at 16-15. Ashley Mason’s service ace tied the set at 18-all and Kaitlin Jaeger and Christine McCartney hit back-to-back kills for a 20-19 MSU lead. The set was tied at each point from 20 through 23 when a UNI attack error gave the Bears a set point and Carly Thomas cashed in with a kill.
The Panthers used a 7-0 run early in the third period to lead 13-5 and cruised to victory as Missouri State was never closer than seven points from there. After hitting better than .350 in each of the first two sets, the Bears sputtered to an .094 attack efficiency while UNI piled up four blocks and three aces in the period.
A tightly-contested third set swung in Missouri State’s favor with consecutive McCartney kills for an 18-17 lead and another for 19-18. Jaeger added kills for leads of 20-18 and 21-20, but the Panthers closed on a 5-0 run that included three MSU attack errors to extend the match to a deciding fifth set.
A UNI block put the home team ahead 6-3 in the fifth set and the teams exchanged points to 8-5 when the Panthers scored twice to lead 10-5. Olivia Brand and Jaeger hit kills to pull MSU to 10-7, but UNI’s Courtney Kintzel fired back with two kills and a block to put MSU in a 13-7 hole. The Panthers finished the set with 10 kills and no errors.
Missouri State hit .276 for the match compared to .287 for UNI. The Panthers held the edge in total kills (70-62) and blocks (13-9), while the Bears led 66-56 in digs.
Rivatto paced MSU with 14 kills and Jaeger added 12 against one error to hit .407. Four other Bears had at least seven kills. Mason logged a match-high 18 digs and Elise Munroe added a career-high 17. Doolittle set a season high with seven blocks.
The Bears return home Oct. 4 to take on Evansville at 7 p.m.