Bastianelli, Cooney, Defense by Committee Lift Illinois to Sweep

  0 Wendy Mayer | October 14th, 2017 | Big Ten, College - Women's Indoor, News


  • Illinois (RV) def. Ohio State 3-0 (25-23, 25-19, 25-20)
  • Illinois moves to 14-4, 5-2 B1G; Ohio State falls to 10-8, 3-4 B1G
  • Champaign, Illinois
  • Attendance: 2,247
  • Box Score


CHAMPAIGN, Ill. – Even without the services of senior libero Brandi Donnelly,  Illinois managed a sweep of visiting Ohio State on Friday.

The Fighting Illini utilized a defense by committee effort with seven players notching four of more digs in the victory. An efficient offense also aided in the win as the Illinois outhit OSU .256 to .186. Ohio State tallied four more kills, but made 13 more errors in the match (22-9). Illinois won the block 7-5 and the serve 5-3.

Junior middle blocker Ali Bastianelli and freshman outside hitter Megan Cooney ran point for the Fighting Illini offensively each turning in 11 kills and hitting at a .333 clip. Bastianelli also guided the team at the net with five blocks. Junior setter Jordan Poulter pulled up a team-best eight digs to go with 32 assists, while sophomore defensive specialist Annika Gereau added seven digs and a team-best three aces.

Senior outside Ashley Wenz tallied a match-high 15 kills and 13 digs, while also adding a team-high three blocks. Senior outside Luisa Schirmer chipped in 10 kills, eight digs and two aces. Freshman libero Hannah Gruensfelder recorded a match-high 15 digs.

The teams tied 11 times in Set 1, last at 23 all. After ties at 14 and 18, Illinois pulled away with a 4-0 run, including two kills by Ayanna Swan. Ohio State battled back to a tie at 23 with two Bastianelli kills and two Illini miscues. Bastianelli ended the set with a solo stuff and an a kill.

Illinois snapped a 7-all tie in Set 2 with a 6-1 run. Cooney downed two kills and Quade added a kill and a block to vault ahead 13-8. Ohio State pulled back to within two at 15-13, but the Illini countered with 6-1 run of its own, including back-to-back aces by Gereau to go up 21-14. A stuff by Madison Smeathers and Swan made it a four-point game, but two Bastianelli putaways and one by Jacqueline Quade capped the 25-19 win.

The Fighting Illini built an 11-6 lead in Set 3 and held on after a tie at 18 to close out the sweep. Two blocks and four OSU miscues aided Illinois in the early going. Down 14-8, the Buckeyes got two kills each by Lauren Witte and Luisa Schirmer as they pulled even at 18. The home side wrapped up the win with a 7-2 run, with the final point coming on a stuff by Poulter and Bastianelli. Four Ohio State errors also aided the Illini in the final stretch.



Courtesy: Illinois Athletics

With double-digit kill outings from junior Ali Bastianelli and freshman Megan Cooney, the Illinois volleyball team cruised to a straight-sets (25-23, 25-19, 25-20) win over Ohio State on Friday (October 13) night in Huff Hall.

Bastianelli and Cooney each totaled 11 kills on 27 attacks and only two errors for a .333 hitting percentage to pace the Illini offense, while the junior middle blocker led all players with five blocks on the night. Sophomore Jacqueline Quade added nine kills in the win.

As a team, the Illini registered a .256 hitting percentage with junior Jordyn Poulter posting 32 assists and a team-high eight digs on the night.

Sophomore Annika Gereau added seven digs and a game-high three aces, while freshman Tyanna Omazic also served up two aces for the Illini (14-4, 5-2).

After an early 5-2 advantage for the Illini, the Buckeyes (10-8, 3-4) knotted things up at 7-7 and from there it was a side-out set that saw eight ties over the next several points. OSU broke an 18-18 tie with four-straight points to take a 22-18 edge, but the Illini answered back by finishing off the opening stanza with a 7-1 run, including four-straight points – including three kills and a block – from Bastianelli for the 25-23 set one win.

It was a back-and-forth start to the second until the Illini used four-straight points, including back-to-back Cooney kills and a Bastianelli and Quade block, to pull ahead at 11-7. From there, the Illini pushed their lead out to seven at 21-14 on back-to-back Gereau service aces. Ohio State battled back to close with 22-18 with a 4-1 mini run, but the Illini held their ground as back-to-back Bastianelli kills set up set point, before a Quade kill sealed the 25-19 second set victory and the 2-0 advantage heading into the break.

The Illini held an early advantage in the third, before pushing their lead to 11-6 on a 5-1 run capped by a block from Cooney and Omazic. The Lenexa, Kansas native then gave the Illini their biggest lead of the period at 14-8 with an ace, but a 10-4 run from the Buckeyes knotted the score at 18-18. A Buckeye service error, followed by a Quade kill and another Gereau ace propelled the Illini to the 21-18 edge. The two teams traded points until a block from Poulter and Bastianelli sent the Illini to the 25-20 set win and the 3-0 match victory.

The Illini wrap up their four-match homestand on Saturday (October 14) as they welcome in Maryland for its annual Pink Match at 7 p.m. CT in Huff Hall.


Courtesy: Ohio State Athletics

The Ohio State women’s volleyball team came up short at Illinois on Saturday night in a three-set loss (25-23, 25-19, 25-20). The Buckeyes fought hard all night but their late rallies were not enough in the end. Ohio State drops to 10-8 overall and 3-4 in the Big Ten. The Fighting Illini improve to 14-4 overall and 5-2 in conference action.

Ashley Wenz led the Buckeyes’ offensive attack with 15 kills. She also scooped 13 digs and had two blocks. Luisa Schirmer contributed 10 kills and Hannah Gruensfelder tallied 15 digs. Lauren Witte connected on seven of 11 swings with two errors to hit .455 on the evening along with three blocks. Taylor Hughes added 35 assists and Ayanna Swan notched seven kills. Each of the 11 Buckeyes that took the court had at least one or more digs.

SET 1: Three straight points gave OSU a 12-10 edge in the opening frame. The Illini continued to battle and tied the set at 18-all. Four consecutive points put the Buckeyes up 22-18 and sent Illinois to its bench. The Illini used a 7-1 sprint to take the set, 25-23.

SET 2: The Scarlet and Gray trailed 13-8 to start the set. Illinois continued to build its advantage as it pushed the score to 20-14 and the Buckeyes called for time. Ohio State cut the deficit to four on a 4-1 run but the stanza ultimately went to the Illini, 25-19.

SET 3: The Buckeyes trailed 10-6 early on. OSU clawed its way back as two errors by the Illini and a pair of kills and an ace from Schirmer locked the set at 18-18. Illinois fended off Ohio State’s comeback thanks to a 7-2 run for the win, 25-20.

The Scarlet and Gray are heading to Northwestern for a Saturday night matchup. First serve is set for 8 p.m. ET.

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About Wendy Mayer

Wendy Mayer

Wendy Mayer has worked in athletics media relations for the last 20 years. The Northwest Missouri State alumna is currently senior writer for after spending the last 15 years with Purdue athletics.

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