CEDAR FALLS — Five matches in six days does not give a team much chance to rest. It doesn’t give them much chance to practice, either.
The Northern Iowa volleyball team completed a tough week of competition by going 2-2 at the Missouri Invitational over the weekend, wrapping up the tournament with a four-set victory over Austin Peay.
“I thought the weekend, overall, I felt like we made improvements in some of the things we are doing out there,” head coach Bobbi Petersen said. “Last week, we had absolutely zero time to practice. The one we did was basically some serve and pass and walking through some of the teams we were playing and not specifically jumping and defending.
“It was a little tough for us coaches and hopefully we will get a little more time to practice this week after a day off (today) after playing yesterday.”
Petersen said there were some highlights from the 2-2 weekend in Missouri, among those the play of former Waterloo West star Kaylissa Arndorfer at the service and front line.
“I would say if I’m looking at things we did improve on, serving was the No. 1 thing,” Petersen said. “We really challenged our kids in serving. The last couple of weekends that is definitely been an area we have been timid in. Every player picked up their serve in some way.
“But we added Kaylissa and she has been a kid in practice, she bombs balls. But getting consistent with that ... it is easy in practice to go back and put a ball over the net hard. It is a little different when you are in a match situation. But I thought she did a really good job.
“ I thought she did a really good job, with a error-to-ace ratio right where we wanted it to be. And, just her play in general. She has been kid we have been starting to get more confident in being able to set her in situations. Really pleased with her performance this weekend.”.
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UNI returns to action Friday at the Marquette Invitational where it will play Saint Louis, Wisconsin-Green Bay and No. 7 Marquette.
SOCCER: After a rough go of it on Friday, UNI rebounded with a dominating 3-0 win at home against North Dakota State Sunday to improve to 4-3-0.
The Panthers host South Dakota State Friday and travel to Western Illinois Sunday to complete their non-conference schedule.
Head coach Bruce Erickson said his team’s tough early schedule has prepared them for the Missouri Valley Conference.
“Our schedule has been very good,” Erickson said. “We have played some great teams and teams that have really exposed us like UMKC did on Friday. But I loved how we responded.
“As I said UMKC game was rough, but I think it showed us what it is like to play against a team that is firing on all cylinders. I think that game actually in the long run is going to make us better.”
WOMEN’S TENNIS: The Panthers opened up their fall season at the Drake Invitational and head coach Chris Sagers said he was pleased with the team’s play and will be looking for growth this weekend at the Gopher Invitational in Minneapolis.
“Overall pretty happy,” Sagers said. “Happy with our depth. We are just going to keep getting more experience, and keep getting better and this weekend up at the Gopher Invite ... we will keep experimenting with doubles and keep getting stronger in singles ... but very happy with what I’ve seen so far.”