TEMPE, Arizona — UNI volleyball showed resolve on Friday by opening the 2022 season at the Webb-Burbridge Classic on the campus of Arizona State University. Despite the valiant efforts of the Panthers, UNI lost their first two games of the tournament, losing to the Toledo Rockets in four sets on Friday morning (25-18, 21-25, 19-25, 17-25), and losing a tough five-set game against the Arizona State Sun Devils late Friday night (27-25, 25-23, 24-26, 23-25, 10-15).
TOLEDO | L, 1-3 (25-18, 21-25, 19-25, 17-25)
Emilie Holterhaus finished with a team-high 10 eliminations in the loss, with Inga Rotto notch 9 eliminations and 4 blocks in total, and carly spies registering 8 kills. Taylor Alden notched 34 assists in the season opener with 7 kills and 7 digs, while Sydney Peterson led the Panthers with 12 digs on his UNI debut.
Series 1 (UNI, 25-18): The Panthers and Rockets fought a close back and forth battle with nine ties in the opening stanza. Tied at 13 overall, UNI pulled away with a 12-5 run thanks to 4 kills and 2 blocks from Spies. UNI forced 8 attacking errors from Toledo, while posting a 0.303 attacking percentage in attack.
Set 2 (Toledo, 25-21): Toledo’s defense went from strength to strength in the second set, recording 13 team digs to UNI’s 5. The Rockets would take the lead after a 15-15 tie and close on a 5-0 run for the four-point win over the Panthers. UNI were limited to just 9 kills in the frame with an attacking percentage of 0.067, including 3 by Rotto.
Set 3 (Toledo, 25-19): The Panther offense found some momentum in the third set with 12 team kills, including 4 by Kira Fallert. spies and Sydney Peterson each landed an ace of service, but Toledo’s offense only made 4 attacking errors with an attacking percentage of .281. A net kill by Alden tied the set-up at 19 points apiece, but the Rockets capitalized on a 5-0 run to take a 2-1 lead in the game.
Set 4 (Toledo, 25-17): Megan Witte recorded four kills from the bench to contribute to 15 kills for Panther in the fourth set, but UNI struggled with 11 attacking errors. Toledo led the frame from start to finish with the Panthers shooting within two runs twice. The Rockets made just one attacking error, scoring the final 7 points of the set to win the match in four sets.
ARIZONA STATE | L, 2-3 (27-25, 25-23, 24-26, 23-25, 10-15)
Four Panthers posted double-digit wins over ASU, led by 15 wins apiece of Inga Rotto and carly spies. Rotto recorded 6 blocks for UNI, while Taylor Alden posted a game-high 52 assists, 5 blocks and 3 service aces. Kira Fallert counted a 12 kill, 11 dig double-double like Olivia Tjernagel posted 10 kills. Sydney Peterson anchored the Panther defense with 18 digs.
Series 1 (UNI, 27-25): UNI overcame the early mistakes to come back up to 5 points. Led by 4 kills each from Fallert and Emilie Holterhausalong with a pair of service aces from Alden, the Panthers dodged back-to-back set points from ASU to extend and ultimately win the opening stanza with a .256 hit percentage of 16 team wins .
Series 2 (UNI, 25-23): The Panther and Sun Devil defenses came in to play as the two teams traded long points rallies in another back-and-forth frame. Arizona State took a 20-17 lead using a 5-0 run, but UNI scored 8 of the last 11 points to edge the Sun Devils by two points for a second straight set. The Panthers posted a .286 hit percentage in the set on 17 kills.
Series 3 (USS, 26-24): UNI held the lead for much of the third set, hanging on to earn a match point opportunity at 24-23. Arizona State would score three consecutive points, however, including its last two on back-to-back service aces from Claire Jeter. The Panthers recorded 4 total blocks in the third, but also made a record 8 offensive errors on offense.
Series 4 (USS, 25-23): Three straight ASU wins sparked the Sun Devils in the fourth frame as the Panthers trailed for the majority of the set. Capitalizing on 6 ASU attacking errors, UNI took a 23-22 lead late in the fourth before the Sun Devils scored three straight points on a kill from Iman Isanovic, a service ace from Marta Levinska and an error attack from Holterhaus.
Series 5 (USS, 15-10): The Panthers trailed by as much as 7 points to start the final stanza, the biggest deficit for either team all night. UNI recorded a negative hit percentage in a set for the first time this season with a -.250 mark after registering 3 hits on 16 kills with 7 errors. Purple and Gold managed to close the gap three points down but eventually fell five.
- UNI are now 1-1 all-time against Toledo with Friday’s loss. The only other meeting between the programs came on September 10, 2005 in a 3-0 UNI win in Milwaukee, Wisc.
- The Panthers are now 31-17 in program history in season opener and 16-7 in season openers under the head coach. Bobbi Peterson.
- Olivia Tjernagel made the first start of his collegiate career against the Rockets, recording 5 kills, 2 assists and a dig in 4 sets.
- Friday night’s game was the Panthers’ third all-time meeting with the Sun Devils, and the first since 1996. Arizona State now leads the series 3-0.
- Friday’s loss to ASU marks the first time UNI have lost a match in five sets after initially leading 2-0 since February 28, 2021 against Indiana State. It’s also the first time the Panthers have lost a game 3-2 after a 2-0 neutral/road lead since Nov. 27, 2015, at Wichita State.
- by Tayler Alden 52 assists against Arizona State was the second most of his career, one shy of his career high of 53 on March 14, 2021 against Valparaiso.
- by Kira Fallert 12 kills, 11 dig performance was UNI’s first double-double of the season. It’s also Fallert’s fifth career double-double.
- Playing Friday’s game, Inga Rotto and Emilie Holterhaus continued their streak of back-to-back matches played for UNI. Rotto has now appeared in 122 consecutive matches, while Holterhaus has appeared in 90 consecutive matches.
UNI ends play at the Webb-Burbridge Classic early Saturday afternoon as the Panthers take on CSU Bakersfield. The first service is scheduled for 1 p.m. CT and will be broadcast live on the Panther Sports Radio Network via KXEL 1540 and UNIpanthers.com.