CEDAR FALLS, Iowa — Fifth-seeded Illinois State’s run in the State Farm Missouri Valley Conference Volleyball Tournament came to an end in the semifinals Friday.
The Redbirds were swept by top-seeded and No. 11-nationally ranked Northern Iowa, 25-17, 25-16, 25-21 to end their season at 19-14.
“Northern Iowa played well all around,” said ISU coach Melissa Myers. “They played sharp offensively with only seven errors and defensively with 11 blocks.
“We played hard and didn’t give them a lot of points, with only three unforced errors. Northern Iowa was sharp, efficient and showed why they have had so much success this season.”
Valley all-freshman team star Shannon McGlaughlin led ISU with 11 kills to go along with 10 digs.
Classmate LeighAnn Hranka recorded double-digits kills for the second-consecutive night with 10, giving her a team-high 23 in the tournament. Senior Mallory Leggett had nine kills and four digs in her final match as a Redbird.
UNI had 53 kills and only seven errors for a .447 hitting percentage. The Panthers had a hitting percentage above .440 in each set and finished with 11 blocks. ISU countered with 40 kills and 14 errors for a .255 hitting percentage.
Leggett recorded the first three ISU points with kills and the Redbirds led 8-5 in the first set. UNI came back to tie it at eight, but McGlaughlin and Leggett answered with kills.
Three kills and a service ace put UNI back on top, 15-12. Beth Discher recorded a kill and a solo block to extend the Panther lead to 22-16.
After a Leggett kill, two Panther kills and an ISU error won it for UNI, 25-17. Northern Iowa hit .441 in the set, with 17 kills and only two errors on 34 attempts. Leggett paced ISU with six kills and one error for a .455 hitting percentage, but her teammates combined for seven kills and five errors.
Two kills, a block and an ace put UNI in control of the second set with a 4-0 lead. Three more kills and a block made it 8-3, but the Redbirds came up with five kills to pull within 11-9.
The Panthers continued to pour on the kills, producing five more to extend the gap to 16-11. Three kills, two blocks and an ace provided six-straight points for UNI and a 23-13 advantage.
ISU scored twice facing set-point, but UNI’s 18th kill sealed the set, 25-16. For the set, UNI had 18 kills, three errors and a .455 hitting percentage.
The third set saw more of the same from UNI, which used four kills and an ace to grab a 7-3 lead. Back-to-back Leggett kills pulled the Redbirds within two, but UNI answered with three kills and a block to pull ahead, 13-8.
The Panthers added four-straight points to go up 17-9. ISU used a late 5-0 run to pull within three, 23-20, but could get no closer as Northern Iowa won the set, 25-21.