- #24 Illinois def. Northwestern 3-0 (25-18, 25-13, 25-18)
- Illinois moves to 11-5 (4-1 Big Ten); Northwestern falls to 7-10 (0-5 Big Ten)
- Evanston, Illinois (Northwestern hosted – Welsh-Ryan Arena)
The 24th-ranked Illinois Illini continued a successful run of Big Ten play where they now sit 4-1, with their only loss coming at the hands of then-unanimous-#1 Nebraska in September, by sweeping Northwestern 3-0 on Wednesday evening.
Illinois senior Middle Blocker Katie Stadick continued to lead the Illini from the middle with an efficient attack – she recorded 10 kills on 15 assists for a .600 hitting percentage on the day – part of an overall .311 effort. She also recorded 2 block assists which matched her with Ali Bastianelli (7 kills, 4 block assists, 1 solo block) for the team lead with 11 points.
Stadick doesn’t lead the Illini in any one total statistical category this season, but her .365 hitting percentage is by far the highest among four Illini players with over 100 kills this season.
Northwestern struggled to work around the Illinois block, recording 21 errors on just 24 kills. While the Wildcats remain winless in Big Ten play, Taylor Tashima continues to make the most of her season – the junior recorded 18 more assists on Wednesday, which pushes her to 6th on Northwestern’s all-time rankings with 2,554.
Senior Rafae Strobos got her first career start at libero for Northwestern and led the team with 12 digs.
“I thought Rafae did a great job stabilizing our serve receives,” Northwestern head coach Shane Davis said. “She kept us in system a lot, and we’re proud of what Rafae did on short notice.”
Courtesy Northwestern University:
Courtesy Illinois Athletics:
EVANSTON, Ill. – The No. 24 Fighting Illini volleyball team used a complete team effort en route to earning its third-straight Big Ten Conference road win in a 3-0 (25-18, 25-13, 25-18) sweep against Northwestern on Wednesday (Oct. 5) night at Welsh-Ryan Arena.
The Orange and Blue improve to 11-5 on the season and 4-1 in the conference and have won nine of their last 10 matches, while the Wildcats fall to 7-10 and 0-5 in the league.
Senior Katie Stadick led a balanced Illini attack with 10 kills on 15 swings and only one error for a .600 hitting percentage, while sophomore setter Jordyn Poulterregistered her first double-double of the season and the ninth of her career with 33 assists and 10 digs. She also added three kills on five attacks for a .400 hitting percentage and three blocks in the win.
It was a back-and-forth start to the match as neither team grabbed more than a two-point lead throughout much of the opening set. With the score tied at 18-18, the Illini kicked it into another gear with a 7-0 run to finish the set as senior Michelle Strizak served the last six points, including an ace to seal the 25-18 win.
The Wildcats came out fired up in the second to take an early 5-3 edge, but a kill from sophomore Ali Bastianelli evens things at 6-6. The Illini jumped ahead at 10-7 following an NU attacking error, but back-to-back Wildcat points pulled the home team within one at 10-9. From then it was all Illini as six-straight UI points – with five coming on the serve of freshman Caroline Welsh – turned into a 15-4 run to give the Illini a two-set advantage going into the break.
Out of intermission, NU scored the set’s first three points to build a 4-1 lead, but three-straight Illini points knotted things at 4-4. From there it went back-and-forth as neither team could grab the momentum. Trailing by one at 14-13, Illini strung together four-straight points, capped by a kill from freshman Jacqueline Quade, to push ahead at 17-14. Back-to-back Stadick kills gave the Illini a 21-16 advantage, as the Illini did not look back before senior Naya Crittenden wrapped up the victory with a kill.
As a team, the Illini posted a .311 hitting percentage, including a .481 mark in the opening set. Crittenden added nine kills and three stuffs on the night, while Bastainelli chipped in seven kills and led UI with five blocks.
Junior libero Brandi Donnelly paced the Illini with a match-high 13 digs.
The Illini held the Wildcats to just a .034 hitting percentage while outdigging the home team, 38 to 33, and outblocking NU, 8.0 to 4.0.
Illinois wraps up its three-match road swing on Saturday (Oct. 8) night in Madison, Wis., in a BTN broadcasted match against No. 2 Wisconsin at 7:30 p.m. CT in the UW Field House.
Courtesy Northwestern Athletics:
EVANSTON, Ill. – Junior setter Taylor Tashima moved into sixth-place on the Wildcats’ all-time assist leaderboard, adding 18 to her career total on Wednesday night.
Tashima’s second assist of the match vaulted her past Madalyn Shalter, who recorded 2,537 assists from 2008-12. Tashima ended the night with 2,554 for her career. Next up is Andrea Proos (1985-88), who had 2,874.
Northwestern fell to No. 24 Illinois in three sets at Welsh-Ryan Arena.
Junior outside hitter Symone Abbott had a team-high eight kills, while senior middle blocker Maddie Slater added five kills, while hitting .400 to continue to raise her career average to an all-time program best.
Senior Rafae Strobos started at libero for the ‘Cats for the first time in her career. She notched a team-high 12 digs, which matched the season-high she set against North Dakota State on Sept. 16.
“I thought Rafae did a great job stabilizing our serve receives,” head coach Shane Davis said. “She kept us in system a lot, and we’re proud of what Rafae did on short notice.”
Despite four kills each from Abbott and junior Gabrielle Hazen in the first set, Illinois’ strong blocking helped win the first set 25-18. The Illini rode their momentum and took the second set, 25-13.
Northwestern battled back in the third frame and was tied 14-14 before the Illini closed out the set at 25-18.
The Wildcats are back in action on Sunday, Oct. 9, when they travel to Minneapolis, Minn. to take on the No. 1-ranked Minnesota Golden Gophers at 2 p.m.