Fighting Illini volleyball
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[October 06, 2008]
CHAMPAIGN -- After a heartbreaking five-set loss to
13 Minnesota on Friday, Illinois head coach Don Hardin wanted to
make sure his club came out with the proper
approach to upstart Iowa on Saturday. Aside from a lapse in the
third set, No. 19 Illinois volleyball responded with a 25-23, 25-17,
19-25, 25-15 victory on Saturday night.
After splitting the first two weekends of Big Ten play, the
Illini improve to 11-4 overall and 2-2 in the conference, while the
Hawkeyes drop to 10-6 overall and 2-2 in the Big Ten.
"I was really worried about the emotional makeup of tonight's
match," Illinois head coach Don Hardin said. "I'm happy that our
team dug in deep to respond when they needed it."
The Illinois defense was again effective, with 15.5 team blocks
compared with just three for the Hawkeyes while the Illini back-row
passing was stellar again. Sophomore Johannah Bangert, the nation's
sixth-leading blocker, came through with
eight block assists to go along with six kills, while freshman
Michelle Bartsch had a solid night both offensively and defensively
with 12 kills, a solo block, six block assists and a .226 hitting
Hillary Haen played front row for the second straight night and hit
.400 on five swings with two kills and two block assists to go along
with her team-leading 28 assists. Senior Lizzie Bazzetta added 22
assists. The steady force of the back row
was Ashley Edinger, who had some amazing passes in her 16 digs.
"Ashley Edinger's passing and defense all weekend was steady,"
Hardin added. "Her performance last night may have been overshadowed
with the loss, but her defense and leadership was a big reason we
It didn't hurt having one of the conference's hottest hitters to get
the night started on the right foot. Sophomore Laura DeBruler had
six kills in the opening set en route to a 21-kill, 15-dig
performance on the night. That came a night after
posting the school's first 20-20 performance (24 kills, 22 digs) in
six years versus Miinnesota.
In the first set, the Illini came out with a balanced attack against
the Hawkeyes. The Orange and Blue took a 16-15 advantage and never
looked back, edging out the Hawkeyes in the opening set 25-23.
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A fired-up Illini squad came out ready to battle in the second set,
dominating the net with 5 1/2 blocks to Iowa's one. The
Illini capitalized on the sluggish Hawkeye offense, with the Black
and Gold hitting just .042 for the set.
After the break, Iowa took six straight points to build a 17-12
lead over the Illini. The Hawkeyes were not ready to go down
without a fight, as they stormed out in the third set hitting.
200 compared to .059 from the Illini.
It was all Illini in the fourth set, with the Orange and Blue
hitting an impressive .273 while the Hawkeyes hit minus .029.
The Illini hit the road next weekend for a pair of Big Ten
matches as they travel to Ohio State on Friday and
Michigan on Saturday. Both matches are set for 6 p.m.
"The conference will start to shake out a little in bit in a
week or two," Hardin said. "Right now we just want to
concentrate on getting better in every area."
[Text from file received from
U of I Athletic