Salukis fall in four-sets to UNI

By Brooke Buerck, Sports Reporter

On Friday night, Southern Illinois couldn’t outlast Missouri Valley Conference first-ranked University of Northern Iowa. 

The Salukis (12-14, 4-8 MVC) travelled to Cedar Falls for their second matchup of the season against the Panthers, suffering a loss but taking a set away from UNI (13-25, 25-23, 18-25, 16-25). 

Out of their past six matches against UNI, all of which were losses, only twice had the Salukis been able to find a single-set win. 

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The Panthers (17-9) have only lost one MVC conference game out of the 12 they have played. Their only loss has been to the Illinois State Redbirds on Oct. 12 in five sets. 

The loss marked SIU’s second in a row. 

The Salukis struggled offensively for the night, hitting only at a .092 clip while having just one hitter with double-digit kills. 

Junior opposite hitter Hannah Becker was that player for the Salukis, tallying 12 kills on 38 attempts.

Junior setter Rachel Maguire recorded double digits in assists and digs, finishing the game with 14 assists and 11 digs while adding seven kills.

For the Panthers, four hitters put up more than 10 kills, with senior outside hitter Karlie Taylor leading with 18. 

The Salukis were able to recover from a steep first-set loss to find a tight win in the second set. 

A 10-point scoring run early into the first set gave the Panthers the advantage they needed to seal their first win 

Northern Iowa stifled the Salukis to only eight team kills to go along with seven attack errors in the first set. 

The Panthers dominated by putting down 13 kills while hitting at a .286 percentage.

Contrarily, the Salukis took control early in the second set, leading by as many as eight with the 16-8 advantage. 

The Panthers found their way back into the game, tying the score at 17-all, but a relentless SIU wouldn’t allow them a chance to take the game. 

Both teams carried that momentum into the third set, battling point-for-point before UNI edged ahead.

The Salukis were outlasted by the Panthers, however, as SIU only found eight kills compared to Northern Iowa’s 20.

Southern Illinois will travel to Des Moines, Iowa, tomorrow for a match against Drake University, whom they defeated 3-1 earlier this season on Oct. 4. 

Game time is set for 5 p.m. with broadcast available on ESPN3.

Sports reporter Brooke Buerck can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter at @bbuerck25.

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