Monday, October 06, 2008
Sports NewsMayfield's Mutterings: Fall frenzy

Fighting Illini volleyball

Send a link to a friend

[October 06, 2008]  CHAMPAIGN -- After a heartbreaking five-set loss to No. 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.

HardwareAfter 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 percentage.

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 won tonight."

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.

[to top of second column]

Auto Sales

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. CT starts.

"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 Dept.]


< Sports index

Back to top


News | Sports | Business | Rural Review | Teaching & Learning | Home and Family | Tourism | Obituaries

Community | Perspectives | Law & Courts | Leisure Time | Spiritual Life | Health & Fitness | Teen Scene
Calendar | Letters to the Editor