Redbirds Drop Four-Game Decision to UNI on Senior Day
Nov. 12, 2006
NORMAL, Ill. -- Illinois State's front line trio of Lindley McDavid, M.C. Richmond and Kari Staehlin combined for 57 kills, but it wasn't enough to overcome an all-around balanced offensive effort by Northern Iowa, as the first-place Panthers defeated the Redbirds in four games (34-36, 30-26, 30-19 and 30-26) at Redbird Arena Sunday afternoon. The win secures Northern Iowa's season sweep over Illinois State.
Illinois State drops to 15-11 on the season with a 9-7 Missouri Valley Conference slate. Northern Iowa ups its record to 24-7 and 15-2.
McDavid had 17 kills in her final regular season match at Redbird Arena; Richmond was one off her career-high with 21 kills, and Staehlin collected 19 kills in the setback. Erin Lindsey tied her season-best with 64 set assists. The Panthers were led by Trista Humal's 21 kills.
The Redbirds prevailed by a score of 36-34 in game one, the most points Illinois State has scored in a single-game in program history. ISU held the lead through the first 50 combined points of the game, before UNI took its first lead at 26-25. The two teams battled back-and-forth for the ensuing eight points before the Panthers forced their first game point at 29-28. The `Birds fought off four game points in the ensuing nine possessions, each time answering with a kill to re-knot the score. Illinois State capitalized on its only game point of the frame, when McDavid recorded her third kill to give the `Birds the come-from-behind win. Richmond and Staehlin combined for 13 kills in the stanza. Humpal contributed six kills for Northern Iowa.
UNI answered with a resounding 30-26 win in game two. Illinois State claimed the early lead, but UNI strung together a 3-0 spurt to break a 3-3 tie, and never trailed again in the game. The Panthers led by as many as nine points mid-way through the stanza before Illinois State jump started a 9-2 late run to pull within two, 28-26. But after clinching game point following a Redbird hitting error, Northern Iowa clinched the game two win with Humpal's sixth kill.
The Panthers carried over the momentum into game three, where they claimed a running away, 30-19 victory. Both teams traded points in the first 15 possessions before the Panthers recorded a 5-1 spurt to claim a commanding 13-8 lead. The Redbirds answered with a 5-1 run to pull within 14-13, and forced UNI into their first timeout. But the Panthers never let Illinois State reclaim the lead, pushing their advantage to as many as 12 points down the stretch. Northern Iowa forced game point at 29-17 after an ISU hitting error, and clinched the 30-19 win after a service error by DaCunha.
Northern Iowa held off a late ISU rally to post a 30-26 win in game four. The Panthers jumped out to a 15-7 advantage, forcing head coach Sharon Dingman into her first timeout. The `Birds responded with an 8-3 run to cut the lead to three, 18-15. Illinois State claimed its first lead of the game at 22-21 with a service ace by Staehlin. They held the lead for just one point, however, as Northern Iowa strung together a 4-0 spurt to reclaim a three-point advantage, 25-22. They forced game point leading 29-25, and Humpal sealed the win two points later with her match-high 21st kill.
The Redbirds will finish off the Valley regular season next weekend when they travel to Wichita State (Nov. 17) and Missouri State (Nov. 18). The Shockers and Bears are currently second and third in the MVC ranks, respectively.