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Saturday, November 27, 2010 | Volleyball
Volleyball Championship: UNI 3, Creighton 1
UNI 3, CREIGHTON 1
UNI (30-2); CU (20-11)
CEDAR FALLS, Iowa - Top-seeded UNI won it's second-straight and 15th overall State Farm Missouri Valley Conference Volleyball Championship title, taking down third-seeded Creighton, 3-1. With the win the Panthers earn the league's automatic berth into the NCAA Tournament, heading to the Big Dance for the fifth-straight season and the 16th time in program history.
UNI roared out to an 8-1 advantage in the first set before Creighton could settle down and get into the flow of the game. The Bluejays ripped off a 5-0 run to get within five points at 13-18, but the Panthers rallied back on two Bre Payton dump kills to go up 21-13. Creighton threatened again with three straight points to make it 17-23, but UNI held off the Bluejays' late surge to take the first set 25-18.
In a set that featured 11 ties and six lead changes, neither team led by more than two points until UNI scored four straight to go up 19-16. The Panthers and Bluejays traded points to make 18-22, but UNI tallied three of the final four points to take a 2-0 advantage into the locker room with a 25-19 decision in the second set.
Creighton never trailed in the third set, earning the first four points and forcing UNI to burn its first timeout. The Panthers battled to within one point on four separate occasions, but the Jays weathered the storm, building as much as a six-point lead (19-13). UNI clawed back to within two at 19-21, but Creighton widened the gap yet again with three straight points at 24-19. The Bluejays held off the Panthers to take set three, 25-20.
UNI raced out to a 7-2 advantage, forcing an early Creighton timeout. The Bluejays battled back to within three, closing the gap at 6-9, but the Panthers responded, going back up six (13-7). Momentum shifted again, this time in favor of the Bluejays, as Creighton pulled to within one point on four separate occasions, the last at 20-21 on a Julianne Mandolfo ace. After a UNI timeout the Panthers earned the side out and never looked back, closing out the match with a 25-20 fourth set win.