DES MOINES — Northern Iowa’s volleyball team put the finishing touch on its regular season Saturday night with a 25-17, 28-26, 25-19 Missouri Valley Conference sweep of Drake at the Knapp Center.
The Panthers (25-7 overall, 15-3 MVC) will be the No. 2 seed for the league tournament that begins Thursday in Normal, Ill. UNI receives a bye into Friday’s semifinals. Drake takes 23-9 and 12-6 marks into the tourney.
Saturday, Bri Weber had 14 kills, Karlie Taylor 12 and Piper Thomas 10 for a UNI team that hit .246 while holding Drake to .173. Taylor also had a team-high 15 digs while Kendyl Sorge finished with 13 and Taylor Hedges 10. Heather Hook logged 31 assists and Kate Busswitz was in on four blocks.
After UNI took the opening set, Drake had an opportunity in the second set to draw even when the Bulldogs took a 15-10 lead. However, the Panthers ran off an 8-3 run to tie the set at 18-18. Drake held a set point at 24-23, but a kill from Jaydlin Seehase tied it at 24-24 and UNI eventually won it on a solo block by Piper Thomas.
The third set was tied at 13-13 before the Panthers used a 4-0 run to take control. It was UNI’s 42nd consecutive win over Drake.