CEDAR FALLS — University of Northern Iowa volleyball coach Bobbi Petersen woke up feeling great Monday.

Petersen’s 20th-ranked Panther squad has won six straight matches to improve to 16-4. And now UNI gets to play at home with five matches over a nine-day stretch inside the McLeod Center.

“Looking forward to having five matches in a row at home,” Petersen said Monday during UNI’s weekly coaches’ luncheon. “It is crazy, but we are real excited about that, and for us this weekend is huge in terms of the competition.”

UNI hosts Southern Illinois Friday and preseason Missouri Valley Conference favorite Missouri State Saturday.

“Both teams are playing well right now. Both teams when you look at that statistical side are in the top five of the conference,” Petersen said. “Missouri State is in the top one, two or three in every category.”

The Bears are led by two-time reigning MVC Player of the Year Lily Johnson and Lindsey Wright, one of the best middles in the MVC.

WOMEN’S SOCCER: UNI lost for the first time in conference play Saturday at Missouri State, 1-0. That dropped the Panthers’ record to 10-2-1.

“Had a good game with Missouri State, not the result we wanted,” head coach Bruce Erickson said.

“It was not all lost in losing the game. I thought we played well, had a goal called back and had some decisions kind of go either way that would’ve benefited us, but all around hats off to Missouri State. I thought they played pretty well.”

The Panthers return to action today at Drake (9-3-1 overall, 2-0 in MVC).

“Our players will have no issues getting up for this game,” Erickson said. “We are looking forward to playing tomorrow.”

WOMEN’S SWIMMING: The Panthers made their season debut in Iowa City Saturday.

Sophomore Katie Taylor took first in three events in a meet that also included Iowa and Michigan State. Taylor won the 100 backstroke, 200 backstroke and reset her MVC record in the 200 individual medley with a time of 2 minutes, 0.26 seconds.

UNI also got a victory from Moriah Ross in the 200 breaststroke.

“Swam really well,” first-year coach Nick Lakin said. “It was a wonderful opportunity to get a gauge ... we have 12 freshmen so they got their first action.”

GOLF: The UNI women’s golf team was tied for second place five shots behind Loyola after the first day of Drake’s Bulldog Invitational Monday. The Panthers posted rounds of 322 and 312 for a 634 total at Echo Valley Country Club.

Sarah McMichael was tied for third at 155 (79-76) and Sydney Eaton shared sixth at 157 (79-78). Jessie Staed of Loyola was the individual leader at 153 (79-74).

In Overland Park, Kansas, the Panther men stood 12th after the first 36 holes of the Bill Ross Intercollegiate with a 604 score. Grand Canyon was the first-day leader at 572.

Sam DeBartolo led UNI at 145 (73-72) and was tied for ninth. Marshal Lamb shot 151 (79-72) and was tied for 45th. Matt Tolan of South Dakota was the leader after two rounds at 138 (69-69).

TENNIS: Kate Merrick and Savanna Hunt posted an 8-6 win to take fifth place in Flight 3 doubles for Northern Iowa Monday as the Missouri Valley Conference individual tennis championships concluded in Normal, Illinois.

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Sports reporter for The Courier

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