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UNI ATHLETICS

College Athletics: UNI volleyball with big week ahead, tennis opens fall season

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UNI

CEDAR FALLS — The Northern Iowa volleyball team heads into a big week with games against Iowa State and Iowa circled on the calendar.

UNI opens its week against the Cyclones in Ames at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday. After starting the season 1-4, Iowa State rattled off four wins in a row including 3-1, home wins over Iowa and Drake.

In looking ahead at their match with Iowa State, UNI head coach Bobbi Petersen said she expects a fun match and a healthy crowd at the Hilton Coliseum. However, she also noted that the Cyclones are ‘very hard to scout right now.’

“They have done a lot of different things,” Petersen said. “A lot of different players are playing. This weekend was the first weekend they went into a 6-2 offense.”

Petersen said the match against Iowa State will provide a good test for the Panthers ability to implement game time adjustments.

bobbi petersen 2019

Petersen

“We will have to be really good at game time adjustments,” Petersen said. “Our kids have been doing a really good job of that early in the season. So, we are looking forward to the opportunity to do that again this week.”

The Cyclones won the previous three matches between the programs with UNI’s last win coming in 2017. Tuesday’s game will be available on ESPN+ with a subscription.

Following the Iowa State match, the Panthers will travel 80 miles down Interstate 380 to Iowa City to participate in the Hawkeye Invitational.

UNI opens with matches against North Florida and South Dakota State on Friday and wraps up their week against Iowa at 2 p.m. on Saturday.

Petersen called the four Division I programs in Iowa matching up against each other this season ‘a lot of fun’ and said UNI would consider a tournament with the other three if it did not already play Drake twice per season in conference play.

“It is awesome,” Petersen said. “I am so glad that all the teams are willing to play each other because all of us have a lot of great Iowa kids on the teams.”

Brkic wins Flight B title at Drake Invite: The UNI women’s tennis team opened its fall season at the Drake Invite over the weekend.

Junior Andrijana Brkic from Serbia managed to come out on top in the Flight B singles competition with a 4-0 record. Brkic beat Drake senior Rebecca Ehn in the finals, 6-3 and 6-0, to claim the title.

Panthers head coach Chris Sagers said he did not know what to expect coming into the season, but Brkic came back ready to go.

“I have never seen her play so well,” Sagers said. “Not just from the first match, but carried it on…[I am] very proud of her and very happy for her.”

Despite describing the weekend as an impressive start to the season, overall, Sagers said he continues to want more out of their doubles play.

“I feel like I am saying this every time I step up here,” Sagers said. “Doubles, we just need to continue to get better…We just have to be a little bit more aggressive in doubles.”

Up next, UNI heads north for the Gopher Invite where the Panthers will see players from North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota, Drake, St. Thomas and Marquette.

“We got a tough weekend this coming weekend,” Sagers said. “It is going to be good experience for our players. It should be a lot of fun.”

Women’s soccer opens Valley play against Valpo: The UNI women’s soccer team opens its Missouri Valley Conference play against the preseason pick to win the league—Valparaiso.

Despite their 1-5-2 nonconference record, UNI head coach Bruce Erickson said he expects the Beacons to present a big challenge on Saturday.

Bruce Erickson

Erickson

“For somebody like Valpo, their group, their continuity with their current group that they have had, is really good,” Erickson said. “They going to present some challenges. They have some great individual players that I think are going to cause problems.”

Erickson’s and the Panthers’ expectations come from precedent. The coach pointed out that in recent season the Beacons’ nonconference record did not serve as a solid indicator of their success in the Valley.

“They have got it done in the conference season,” Erickson said. “They have had a couple up and down nonconference season and then, once they get to conference, they turn it on. We are expecting that.”

In the previous two seasons, Valpo went 6-7-3 outside of conference play, but went 9-3-4 in Valley play.

On Sunday, the Panthers finished off their nonconference slate with a 6-0 loss to the Iowa Hawkeyes.

UNI to honor Hall of Fame Class of 2022: The UNI Hall of Fame Class of 2022 will be honored at halftime of this weekend’s football matchup against Sacramento State, Saturday.

Announced in July, the class includes Chad Rinehart (football), Mark Schwab (wrestling), Kate Witte (volleyball), Bob Friedman (track & field), Dirk Homewood (track & field) and Sarah O’Bryne (softball).

The 1963-64 Men’s basketball team will also be honored as part of the 2022 class.

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