PHOTO BY MOHAMAD SUHAIMI
BY JOE MILLER
The Drake volleyball team dropped another conference match-up this weekend, falling to the University of Northern Iowa 3-0 at home on Saturday night. Although it was a hard-fought effort by the Bulldogs, they were swept in three sets: 25-27, 22-25, 22-25.
“We did a lot of things well,” head coach Darrin McBroom said. “We put ourselves in a position to win against a team that some rank as high as 40th in the nation.”
The first set was a seesaw affair that featured four lead changes and required extra points to decide a winner.Drake jumped out to an early 12-6 lead thanks to multiple UNI attack errors, but the Panthers chipped away and eventually used a 5-0 run to tie the game at 20 apiece.
Northern Iowa used the energy to claw their way to a 27-25 win.
Drake senior libero Michelle Thommi notched a 10 dig performance in the set.Set two was equally as competitive with neither side being able to pull far from the other. After Drake pulled within two in a 20-18 game, three consecutive kills by the Panther offense proved enough to put away the Bulldogs in the second set.
Although down two sets to none, Drake was determined to stay in the game.
“We always talk about keeping within two points and trying to fight hard and stay positive,” junior middle blocker Kameo Pope said. “(We) try to be tough and battle back.”
The third and final set stayed in form with the rest of the match. Neither team was able to gain more than a two-point advantage until the final serves when UNI took control.
Junior Kyla Inderski turned in a good performance on both sides, recording seven kills and ten digs. Senior setter Chandelle Davidson contributed 20 assists to aid the offensive attack.
Defensively, Drake was again led by Thommi who finished with 19 digs. Sophomore Grace Schofield who added 15 more. Pope shined for the Bulldogs as well, recording seven kills on 13 attempts, finishing with a match-high .462 hitting percentage.
The match against Northern Iowa marked the end of a four-game home series for Drake that featured some of the top talent in the Missouri Valley Conference. All four of the teams the Bulldogs squared up against are ranked in the top five of the MVC. Drake came out of the stand at 2-4 in conference play, 11-9 overall.
Drake is looking to utilize the experience from their solid play against tough opponents to carry them through the rest of the season.
“Now we’re starting to turn and play some of our peers in the conference,” McBroom said. “We hope that this transfers into some success against those teams.”
The Bulldogs hit the road this weekend, taking on Loyola on Friday and Bradley on Saturday.