LINCOLN, Neb. - The University of Northern Iowa volleyball team got the dominant 3-0 sweep of the Kansas State Wildcats in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament on Friday night in Lincoln, Nebraska. The Panthers have advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament for the second consecutive year.
Krista DeGeest, Megan Lehman and Macy Ubben each had 11 kills for the Panthers on the night. DeGeest had an impressive .588 attack percentage and Lehman followed her with a .450 attack percentage. Molly Turk recorded 36 assists and also led in digs for the Panthers for the first time with 14. The team had an overall .321 hitting percentage.
Kills from Shelby Kintzel and Macy Ubben helped the Panthers take an early 5-1 lead in the first set. Kansas State started to come back and brought the match to within one at 7-6. The Panthers then went on an 8-4 run, thanks to seven kills from four different players to take the 15-10 lead at the first timeout of the set. UNI kept this momentum up after the timeout, and Kansas State could not answer. UNI won the first set 25-18.
The Panthers went into the second set of the match with the momentum and kept it going. Kills by Amy Braun and Krista DeGeest gave them the 6-2 lead at the first timeout of the set. Kansas State had a kill in the next play after the timeout to make the score 6-3. DeGeest got a kill in the next play to help spark an 11-5 lead to give them a dominating ten-point lead at 18-8. UNI took control of the rest of the set and won it 25-13.
Kansas State had the early 4-1 lead in the third set. Kills by Krista DeGeest and Shelby Kintzel helped the Panthers go on a 4-1 run to tie the set up at 5-5. Another kill from DeGeest in the next play gave the Panthers the 6-5 lead, but a service error by the Panthers helped KSU tie it up in the next play. The set went back and forth like this until the score was tied at 8-8. A kill by DeGeest helped start a 9-3 run to give them the 17-11 lead. UNI held the lead the rest of the set and won it 25-21 to sweep the match 3-0.
The Panthers will play in the second round match of the tournament on Friday at 7:00 p.m. They will play the winner of the Maryland Eastern Shore/Nebraska match.