PEORIA, Ill. -- Defending Missouri Valley Conference regular-season champion Northern Iowa extended its regular-season conference win streak to 55 consecutive matches with a 25-15, 25-22, 25-19 victory against Bradley in the league opener for both teams Friday at Renaissance Coliseum. The match was part of the 2012 CEFCU Classic, which opened earlier in the day with Long Beach State posting a four-set win against Arkansas State.
Junior Amy Angelos (Waukegan, Ill./Waukegan) notched a team-best nine kills to lead the Braves, but Northern Iowa (8-4 overall, 1-0 MVC) had three players reach double figures in kills and limited Bradley (6-4 overall, 0-1 MVC) to a .100 attack percentage.
The Panthers came out hot in the opening set, hitting .355 and Krista Degeest helped highlight a 25-15 UNI victory with five kills on seven swings. Degeest finished the match with nine kills.
The second set was tight throughout, featuring three lead changes and 11 ties. Bradley pulled within a point at 22-21 on a Madelyn Ervin (Lewis Center, Ohio/Olentangy) kill, but UNI setter Molly Turk found the floor with a kill and Shelby Kintzel added a pair of kills of her own to finish off a 25-22 Panther victory. Ervin recorded three kills and seven digs in the second set for BU.
Bradley trailed 17-15 in the third frame after an Ervin ace, before UNI's Macy Ubben highlighted a 5-1 Panther spurt with two kills and a block assist as Northern Iowa built a 21-16 lead. With her squad leading 23-19, Ubben added her fifth kill of the set to give the Panthers match point and Amy Braun served up an ace to complete the UNI sweep with a 25-19 third-set win.
Angelos led the Braves with nine kills, while hitting .316. Sophomore setter Madison Kamp (Orland, Park, Ill./Chicago Christian) collected her team-best fifth double-double of the year, finishing with 27 assists and matching a season-high with 14 digs. Ervin had five kills, 10 digs and four blocks in the loss.
Braun paced three UNI hitters to reach double figures in kills with 12 and also added 12 digs. Lehman chipped in with 11 kills, while hitting .364 and Ubben recorded 10 digs and 12 digs. Candice Burke led the Panther defensive efforts with a match-high 16 digs to help her team to a 63-51 advantage in digs.
Earlier in the day, Long Beach State opened the CEFCU Classic with a 25-17, 25-16, 22-25, 25-20 win against Arkansas State.
The CEFCU Classic continues Saturday with five matches beginning at 11 a.m. with Long Beach State taking on Northern Illinois. The 1 p.m. match will feature Northern Iowa facing Arkansas State followed by Bradley against Northern Illinois at 3:30 p.m. Northern Iowa and Long Beach State square off at 5:30 p.m. with Bradley closing out the tournament at 8 p.m. against Arkansas State.