MVC Player of the Year Bre Payton had 11 kills, 34 assists, 12 digs and five blocks while hitting .500, leading the top-seeded University of Northern Iowa Volleyball team to a 3-0 victory over host Creighton in the semifinals of the State Farm Missouri Valley Conference Volleyball Tournament. Scores of the match were 25-20, 25-16, 25-18.
Northern Iowa (29-2), winners of 27 straight matches and a league-record 13 conference tournament titles, will take on third-seeded Wichita State (26-5) in Saturday’s 3 pm final from D.J. Sokol Arena inside the Wayne and Eileen Ryan Athletic Center in Omaha. The third-seeded Shockers advanced to Saturday’s final with a 3-2 (25-15, 23-25, 25-23, 22-25, 15-12) win over second-seeded Missouri State in the first semifinal of the afternoon.
Creighton (14-17) has now been eliminated by UNI in the MVC Tournament each of the past five seasons, including the last four in semifinal round action.
Jessica Houts and Alicia Runge paced CU with 11 kills, as each hit over .420. Nayka Benitez led CU’s defense with 16 kills. Creighton had 38 kills, one ace, 47 digs and four blocks while hitting .214. The contest marked the final one for CU seniors Houts and Sarah Schulze.
Payton led UNI with 11 kills and now owns all seven triple-doubles recorded within the MVC this season. Shannon Aschoff and Beth Discher each had nine kills for UNI in a supporting role. The Panthers had 47 kills, seven aces, 55 digs and nine blocks while hitting .333 for the evening.