KANSAS CITY, Mo. – UMKC volleyball closed out the Kangaroo Klassic on a high note, knocking off Northern Iowa, a team that had already beaten a pair of top-25 foes this season and had only lost to two top-15 opponents, in Saturday’s finale at the Swinney Recreation Center.
“It was a great win for our team and our program,” Head Coach Christi Posey said. “With a tradition-rich program like Northern Iowa, that has such a talented team and coaching staff, it’s a sweet victory. The main thing is that our players executed the game plan. Our defense was terrific and on point; they did what we asked them to do. This is a big step moving forward.”
“This win means a lot, especially coming off the past weekend where we didn’t play as well as we wanted,” Dyer said. “It’s a great win for us. They beat Mizzou and also beat Austin Peay, who beat us, so it feels good. I couldn’t be tournament MVP without my team behind me, especially without Alli Schomers’ sets. I was totally shocked to receive the honor, but I am happy for our win.”
UMKC fell behind early in the opening set, trailing 4-2 six points in, but answered with an 8-2 rally, bookended by Dyer and Harrington kills, to move in front 10-6. The Roos then extended the lead to 16-9 after back-to-back kills from Mykal Sadler (Cedar Rapids, Iowa) and Alex Ratzlaff (Hillsboro, Kan.) before Harrington finished it off with a kill for the 25-18 victory.
The Panthers came back to even the match heading into the intermission with a 25-16 second set victory, but UMKC immediately reclaimed control of the match with a 25-22 third set win. In the set, UMKC jumped ahead early, building a 10-5 advantage on a Ratzlaff ace. UNI trimmed the lead down to two late at 22-20, but a pair of Sadler kills down the stretch, including the set ender, sealed the win for Kansas City.
In the fourth set, the Roos found themselves trailing by six on several occasions, including as late as 19-13, but did not go away quietly as they trimmed the lead down to three at 20-17 after kills from Harrington, Brooke Jacobs (Peoria, Ill.) and Sadler. UNI stretched the lead back to four at 22-18, but two kills from Ratzlaff, around an ace from Mack Blatcher (Leawood, Kan.), brought UMKC to within one. After a UNI error, Ratzlaff and Dyer followed with kills to put UMKC on match point and, after a UMKC error, Dyer ended the match on a smash off a Schomers’ set for the 25-23 come-from-behind win.
In the match, Ratzlaff and Schomers (Omaha, Neb.) each tallied double-doubles, finishing with 14 kills and 15 digs and 42 assists and 17 digs, respectively. Harrington, meanwhile, finished with 12 kills and nine digs and Sadler added nine kills and six of the team’s 12 blocks, while hitting .304. Defensively, Rhegan Spiegel (Savannah, Mo.) added 20 digs and Dyer finished with 12 kills, hitting .500, and five blocks, including three solo.
The Blue & Gold will be back in action again on Tuesday when they head west to Manhattan, Kan., for a 6 p.m. showdown with Kansas State.
– UMKC –