Fighting Illini volleyball
Illini take care of business against
hits .542 in dominating win
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LANSING, Mich. -- Illinois entered the week facing a tough stretch of three
matches in six days. The Illini couldn't have asked for better
performances in the stretch, sweeping home matches against ranked
opponents Wisconsin and Purdue and on Friday disposing of host Michigan
State in just 80 minutes by scores of 25-17, 25-18 and 25-17. That win was
Illinois' sixth in its last seven matches and leaves the Illini in
sole possession of third place at 7-3 in the conference and 16-5
overall at the halfway point of the Big Ten season.
The Illini were
efficient, hitting .321 for the match, including a blazing .444 clip
in the second set. Outside hitters Kylie McCulley (14 kills) and
Laura DeBruler (17 kills) combined for 31 kills while hitting .542
and .324, respectively. DeBruler and McCulley each had six kills in
the first set, with McCulley hitting .625.
serve-receive and overall defense was as strong as it has been all
season. For instance, the Illini had an 88 percent side-out
percentage in the first set while holding the Spartans to a -.097
hitting percentage. The Spartans scored more than two straight
points only twice the entire night while hitting .089 overall.
was really the difference in the match," said Illinois head coach
Don Hardin. "Any time you hit over .300 in a Big Ten match, while
allowing your opponent to hit .089 is a good accomplishment."
out-dug MSU 47-38 and out-blocked the Spartans 7-1 while being aced
only once. Ashley Edinger had 16 digs for the Illini while sophomore
Abby Nelson paced the Illini with two solo blocks and three block
All three sets
saw similar Illinois runs. In set one, the Illini broke open a basic
side-out game with an 8-2 run to go in front 15-9. DeBruler scored
five of the first nine points to set the tone. In set two, after
Michigan State tied the score at 11, the Illini scored six straight,
capped off by a kill from Abby Nelson. Illinois never trailed in the
third set, using an 8-3 run to go ahead 18-11, and closed out the
match from there.
now won nine matches in three sets this year and closes out its best
first half of the conference season since going 9-1 in 2003. In the
fact, five of the seven matches in this stretch have been won by the
Illini in three.
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"This was a
challenging stretch, so it was important for us to not have to
go too deep in matches," Hardin said. "We wanted go to the right
sides and the middles more tonight, but Kylie and Laura were working
well on the outside."
some much-deserved time off before hosting Michigan on Halloween
[Text from file received from
U of I Athletic