CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Piper Thomas set a school record as Northern Iowa delivered a strong response to a second-set defeat and blew past Southern Illinois in a Missouri Valley Conference volleyball match Friday, 25-15, 23-25, 25-10, 25-18.
Thomas recorded the 91st solo block of her career to surpass Denise Cuttell's previous record of 90 set from 1987-90.
The league-leading Panthers (14-6 overall, 8-0 MVC) broke open a tight first set with an 11-2 run that made it 22-12. Southern Illinois (4-16, 0-7) hit .650 and overcame a late deficit in set two, drawing even at 21-21 and again at 23-23 before closing it out.
Then, with the match tied at one set each, UNI dominated the rest of the way.
The Panthers hit .371 for the night compared to .184 for Southern Illinois and owned a 70-36 advantage in kills and a 67-39 edge in digs.
Individually, Karlie Taylor blasted 25 kills for UNI, Jaydlin Seehase added 16 and Thomas had 14. Taylor had a .442 attack percentage and Thomas finished at .435. Rachel Koop had 53 assists and four Panthers had double-digit digs -- Taylor (15), Kendyl Sorge (14), Taylor Hedges (12) and Koop (10).
UNI continues its weekend road swing Saturday with a visit to Missouri State for a 7 p.m. matchup.