UNI claimed the school’s 17th tourney title and first since 2011 with a 3-1 win over second seed Illinois State Saturday in the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament.
The last time there were two five set matches on the same day of the MVC Tournament was in the 2008 semifinals. This year, No. 6 seed Drake upset No. 3 Bradley, while Valparaiso defeated Missouri State.
Co-champion UNI middle blocker Piper Thomas took home the MVC’s Player of the Year honors, while Bradley’s Hannah Thompson earned the conference’s Freshman of the Year award. Illinois State’s Courtney Pence earned the league’s Libero of the Year honor, while her Redbird teammate Stef Jankiewicz was tabbed Setter of the Year.
This week’s Missouri Valley Conference Players of the Week are Bradley’s Erica Haslag, Illinois State’s Courtney Pence and Missouri State’s Amelia Flynn.
Illinois State senior Courtney Pence became the all-time MVC career digs leader with her fourth dig in Illinois State’s 3-0 sweep of Loyola Friday.
Illinois State (14-1 MVC), UNI (13-1 MVC) and Bradley (10-5 MVC) have already punched their tickets to the MVC Volleyball Championship, while Valparaiso (9-5 MVC), Missouri State (8-6 MVC) and Loyola (7-7 MVC) currently occupy the final three spots.
The UNI Panthers (12-0 MVC) are slated for a big week of Missouri Valley Conference play, taking on the league’s #2 and #3 teams in Illinois State and Bradley.
A big match-up is coming up this weekend between Illinois State and UNI at Redbird Arena. Both teams will face Drake and Bradley, respectively, on Friday night before a 7 p.m. showdown on Saturday.
Nebraska outside hitter Mikaela Foecke, a 2 time NCAA Championship Most Outstanding Player, is one of 10 finalists for the 2018 Senior CLASS Award for volleyball.
UNI maintained its lead at the top of MVC standings with a win over rival Drake in league play Friday. Illinois State (10-1 MVC) sits just a half game behind UNI in the race for a MVC crown with just one month remaining in the regular season.