EVANSVILLE – Top-seeded Northern Iowa had to work a little harder than expected against fifth-seeded Evansville, but the Panthers are moving on in the Missouri Valley Conference women’s volleyball tournament.
Tuesday, UNI (25-7) swept the Aces, 25-19, 32-30, 25-21, to advance to its 26th MVC tournament final in program history.
UNI will be seeking its 18th tournament title and an automatic berth into the NCAA tournament that goes with the title Wednesday at 4 p.m. against either Drake or Illinois-Chicago.
Against Evansville, the host school, UNI got 13 kills from Olivia Tjernagel to lead three Panthers in double figures. Emily Holterhaus added 12 and Kira Fallert 10.
Tayler Alden had 32 assists, five kills and seven digs.
Sydney Petrsen led the team with 10 digs, while Tjernagel and Carly Spies each had three block assists.
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UNI hit .385 in the match with just 11 attack errors in 96 attempts.
In the first set, Evansville led near the midpoint when a four-point run pushed them in front 11-10. But UNI scored the next four points and never trailed again.
In set two, the Panthers fought off three set points before getting a Tjernagel block to win the set, and it was UNI in set three as the Panthers held Evansville to a .034 attack percentage.
It was the 51st all-time tournament win for UNI as it improved to 51-21 in its 38th tournament appearance. Additionally, the Panthers improved to 31-2 all-time as the top-seed in the tournament.