The UNI Panther volleyball team was defeated by a Missouri Valley Conference opponent for just the second time this season, as the Illinois State Redbirds claimed the MVC Tournament title 25-21, 25-16, 25-19 Saturday at the McLeod Center.
UNI never led during the first two sets. The Panthers particularly struggled in the second, making as many errors (10) as kills for a .000 attack percentage.
Karlie Taylor had 19 kills and Rachel Koop notched 29 assists. Both earned recognition on the MVC All-Tournament Team.
In Friday’s semifinal, the Panthers had defeated the Valparaiso Crusaders 25-9, 25-20, 20-25, 25-17.
Taylor had a double-double with 15 kills and 14 digs. It was her 23rd double-double of the season. Kate Busswitz, Kaylissa Arndorfer, and Inga Rotto each contributed 11 kills.
Before the tournament began, UNI players claimed an array of conference honors for their performance during a 17-1 regular season. Taylor was named MVC Player of the Year, and Koop was the conference Setter of the Year.
Both were joined by Busswitz and Arndorfer with recognition on the All-MVC First Team. Arndorfer and Emily Holterhaus were named to the conference’s All-Freshman Team.
Head Coach Bobbi Petersen was named MVC Coach of the Year for the sixth time, after winning the award most recently in 2013. UNI’s win Friday was the 509th of her career, tying her for the most in conference history with former Missouri State coach Melissa Stokes.