By: Ben Adamson
CEDAR FALLS, Iowa –Missouri State overcome a 2-0 deficit to win for the first time since 2015 Sunday afternoon, taking down preseason Missouri Valley Conference favorite UNI by set scores of 15-25, 19-25, 25-22, 25-19 and 15-11 to emerge from the McLeod Center victorious for the third time in the last five tries.
The Bears improved to 9-1 overall and 5-0 in league play, joining the 2000 and 1993 clubs as the only three in MSU’s Division I era (since 1982) to win nine of their first 10 matches. The victory also moved MSU’s record to 4-1 in five-set matches this season.
“So proud of our squad,” said MSU head coach Steven McRoberts after the match. “UNI came out playing really well and we didn’t match their level in the first two sets. We started making more plays in the third and had an incredible run at the end of that set to extend the match. The last couple of five-setters our players have been absolutely clutch and that continued today. We know tomorrow will be another tough test.”
Missouri State combined for 17 kills on .076 hitting in the first two sets and trailed 22-18 in the third when the momentum suddenly swung in the Bears’ favor, beginning with a trio of UNI errors for 22-21.
Sophomore setter Kennedee Anderson scored a kill for the tie, Rylee Fay had an ace for set point at 24-22, and Anderson finished it off with another kill.
Missouri State’s Lindsay Lahr and La’Treva Kennedy teamed up for four blocks during an 8-1 run in the fourth set that turned a 12-all tie into a 20-13 MSU lead, and Kennedy finished with six stuffs in the period and eight in the match.
The Bears then bolted to a 6-1 lead in the fifth with the help of two kills and an ace from Brooklyn Cink and used a 3-0 run to thwart UNI when the Panthers (2-6, 2-3) closed to 7-6 before Cink sealed it with a kill followed by her career-high fifth ace.
Cink had 15 kills and 10 digs while Amelia Flynn collected her ninth consecutive double-double with 14 kills and 12 digs.
Missouri State served 10 aces, reaching double figures for the fourth time this year, and yielded 11 to UNI to trail in that category for just the second time this season. The Bears only had four errors compared to 13 by the Panthers at the service line.
The match was MSU’s ninth consecutive contest that went beyond three sets, the longest streak in school history.
The Bears and Panthers play again at 5 p.m. Monday.