CEDAR FALLS — The result was not what the University of Northern Iowa women’s soccer team wanted Sunday when it fell to Missouri State in the Missouri Valley Conference tournament championship game, 1-0.
But in a season where the Panthers set a program record with 14 wins while breaking numerous other marks en route to their first appearance in the MVC title game, coach Bruce Erickson’s team attracted of a lot of admirers.
“I hope you give that group as much recognition, radio time and ink as you possibly can give them. That is quite a season they just had. Congratulations to coach and his team and what they accomplished,” men’s basketball coach Ben Jacobson said during Monday’s coaches’ press conference.
Erickson said getting to the finals for the first time was a major obstacle the Panthers needed to hurdle.
“Getting to the final is the hardest part,” he said. “Sometimes winning it isn’t as difficult as the journey ahead of it. We just in the end didn’t quite get it done.
“A good year. A lot of things to be happy about and be thankful about. What I told the team after the game, lit the fire a little bit, is that we don’t want this to be a once in 18 years type of thing.”
UNI VOLLEYBALL: After wins over Evansville and Indiana State over the weekend, UNI hits the road for key contests Saturday at Missouri State and Sunday at Southern Illinois.
It will be Senior Night for both the Bears (four seniors) and Salukis (six), and that always brings an emotional lift for teams on that night.
“A big weekend, obviously. Missouri State being 14-0 right now and leading the conference, is a huge game,” head coach Bobbi Petersen said. “Both of these matches in my mind provide different challenges beside what we can do on the court.
“It is the last home weekend for both of these teams and both teams have seniors that have been part of the program and part of the success on the court for a lot of years, so obviously that brings a lot more to the table.”
WOMEN’S SWIMMING: The Panther swimmers get a couple weeks off after topping Nebraska-Omaha over the weekend. UNI does not return to action until it closes the fall portion of its schedule Nov. 17-19 at the Kansas Classic.
WOMEN’S BASKETBALL: Head coach Tanya Warren called Sunday’s exhibition win over Sioux Falls extremely beneficial for a team that returned just two starters.
“They are different roles, so it was good to play someone else and get an idea of where we are,” Warren said. “I thought our effort was tremendous. Thought we had great energy, and execution was okay.
“We are going to be a work in progress all year long due to our youth and inexperience.”
The Panthers host IUPUI Friday in the McLeod Center at 7 p.m. to open their regular season.
WRESTLING: UNI had three Open Division champs at the Harold Nichols Open in Ames — Jay Schwarm, Taylor Lujan and Carter Isley, while returning All-Americans Max Thomsen and Drew Foster competed at the NWCA All-Star Classic in Princeton, N.J.
In addition to that, former UNI stars Joe Colon and Blaise Cabell had great tournaments at the Dave Schultz Memorial where Colon won the 61kg title, and Cabell toppled former world champion Abdul-salem Gadisov of Russia in the semifinals before taking second.
At the All-Star Classic, Foster lost to North Carolina State’s Pete Renda, 5-2, while Thomsen edged Princeton’s Matthew Kolodzik, 4-3.