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Since the Panthers first fielded a volleyball squad in 1974, the University of Northern Iowa has racked up 18 NCAA tournament appearances, 16 Missouri Valley Conference Championships and 29 seasons in which they posted 20 or more victories. But equally, if not more impressive, has been the program's commitment to high academic achievement.
The squad of predominately Iowa women has produced leaders on the court and in the classroom, routinely topping all other Panther teams in grade point average and degrees earned. In the nine years since the NCAA began recognizing teams in the top-10 percent of the Academic Progress Report, the UNI volleyball team has made the list each year; in fact, the team has had a perfect score in each of those nine years. Since 1992, the Missouri Valley Conference has named 51 UNI Volleyball players to its academic all-conference squad, including 33 in the last 14 years.
Bobbi Petersen, a former standout on the court for UNI, has continued her connection with the Purple and Old Gold, first as an assistant coach and now in her 15th season as head coach. She earned her bachelor's degree in therapeutic recreation in 1990 and her master's from UNI in physical education in 1992.
"For me, the biggest part of our UNI volleyball program has been the people over the years. What the program's meant to them and what they've been able to go out and do after they leave here is one of the things that we're most proud of."
The University of Northern Iowa will celebrate the program's 40 years of athletic and academic success this weekend during Homecoming. UNI Volleyball will square off at the McLeod Center against Loyola at 7 p.m. on Friday and against Bradley at 7 p.m. on Saturday.
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UNI is bringing back one of its most treasured traditions-the Homecoming Parade. The parade will begin at 11 a.m., Saturday, Sept. 20, and will start on campus near Gilchrist Hall then will go down College Street and 23rd Street. It will be streamed live on UNI's video streaming website.