Press Release courtesy of Illinois Athletics.
|Saturday, September 23, 2017 | 7 p.m. CT | Evanston Township High School | Evanston, Ill.
Video: BTN Plus ($) | Radio: WDWS 1400 | Livestats
|Full Match Notes||Illinois|
|Statistics||Illinois | Northwestern|
|Series History||Northwestern: Illinois leads, 56-29; Last Match: Illinois won, 3-0, on 10/15/2016; Streak: Won 5 | Results|
|Social Media||@IlliniVball | #Illini | Fac
ILLINOIS VS. THE FIELD
The Illini hold a 56-29 advantage in the all-time series with the Wildcats and have won five-straight, including taking both meetings in straight-sets a season ago.
It was a balanced attack against the Wildcats a season ago with sophomore Jacqueline Quade and former Illini Naya Crittenden, Katie Stadick and Michelle Strizak all leading with 15 kills for a 2.50 kills per set average in both matches. Junior Ali Bastianelli was right behind the quartet with 14 kills for a 2.33 kills per set mark as well as a team-leading 15 blocks for a 2.50 stuffs per set average.
As a team, the Illini hit at a .233 clip in the two wins, while holding the Wildcats to a .009 attack clip and outblocking NU, 21-9.
ILLINI OPEN BIG TEN WITH STRAIGHT-SETS WIN
The Illinois volleyball team made quick work of Indiana en route to a straight-sets (25-23, 25-17, 25-15) win in its Big Ten Conference opener on Wednesday (September 20) night at University Gym.
A pair of Indiana natives – sophomore Jacqueline Quade and redshirt-sophomore Beth Prince – propelled the Illini to victory, with Quade totaling a match-high 13 kills, while Prince turned in 12 kills as well as a match and career-high seven stuffs on the night. Junior Ali Bastianelli joined the duo in double figures with 10 kills on a .615 hitting percentage and five blocks.
Junior Jordyn Poulter led the Illini to a team hitting percentage of .365, including a .438 mark in the second and a .452 clip in the third, while posting 38 assists on the night.
The Illini improve to 23-13 in Big Ten openers and have now won their last five conference starters, both overall and in road matches.
DONNELLY NAMED B1G DEFENSIVE POW
After leading the Illinois volleyball team to an undefeated weekend at the Dr. Mary Jo Wynn Invitational this past weekend, senior Brandi Donnelly was named the Big Ten Conference Defensive Player of the Week, the league announced on Monday (September 18).
Donnelly earns her fourth career conference defensive player of the week accolade after collecting the honor once a season ago and twice as a sophomore. As a freshman, Donnelly also took home three Big Ten Freshman of the Week accolades.
The Williamsville, Ill., native paced the Illini defense and led all players in the Big Ten with 68 digs for an impressive 5.67 digs per set average, while also contributing 11 assists and an ace in the three Illini wins. Donnelly had just one receiving error in 49 opportunities and helped the Illini hold their opponents to a .133 hitting percentage – included back-to-back sub-.100 attack percentages for Chattanooga and Tennessee State.
Her tournament highlights include:
- Match-high 19 digs against Chattanooga.
- 24 digs in three sets against Tennessee State.
- 25 digs – one off her career-high – against Missouri State.
ILLINI GO UNDEFEATED AT DMJW INVITATIONAL
Illinois got back to their winning ways at the Dr. Mary Jo Wynn Invitational in Springfield, Mo., over the weekend, earning a 3-1 win over Chattanooga on Friday, before sailing past Tennessee State, 3-0, on Saturday morning. The Illini then showed their grit in a five-set comeback win over host Missouri State.
The Illini finished the weekend as the Dr. Mary Jo Wynn Invitational runners-up to Washington State due to set differential despite going undefeated in all three matches and not facing the Cougars. Junior Jordyn Poulter and freshman Tyanna Omazic were named to the All-Tournament Team.
Sophomore Jacqueline Quade led the offense with 43 kills for a 3.58 kills per set average to go along with 23 digs, 10 blocks and three aces. Poulter registered 127 assists for a 10.58 assists per set percentage as well as totaling the second-most digs on the team with 36 for a 3.00 digs per set mark in three wins.
Omazic had a breakout weekend after totaling 11 blocks and 10 kills on the weekend, including a career-high eight kills against Tennessee State (9/16) and a career-high seven blocks in a five-set comeback win over Missouri State (9/16).
Senior Brandi Donnelly paced the Illini defense and led all players in the Big Ten Conference with 68 digs for an impressive 5.67 digs per set average, while freshman Megan Cooneycontinued to show improvement and ranked third on the team with 21 kills on the weekend, for a 1.75 kills per set average, while also posting the second-most blocks for the Illini with 13 for a 1.08 blocks per set clip.
The Illini tied their season-high with eight service aces against Chattanooga on Friday as junior Blayke Hranicka equaled her career-high with four, sophomore Annika Gereaunotched a pair of aces and junior Brandi Donnelly and sophomore Caroline Welsh each added one.
The Illini also served up eight aces against Colorado on September 9.
ILLINI IN THE NATIONAL RANKINGS
The Illini continued their strong blocking game and rank third in the NCAA in blocks per set at a 3.36 clip as well as ninth in hitting percentage (.306), while also ranking 10th in total blocks (141) and 20th in opponent hitting percentage (.148).
Individually, junior Ali Bastianelli paces the nation with 1.97 blocks per set, is fourth with a .485 hitting percentage and fifth with 77 total blocks.
Junior Jordyn Poulter also ranks 24th with a 11.21 assists per set average and is 57th with 471 total helpers, while classmate Blayke Hranicka sits 52nd with a .383 attack percentage.
ILLINI NEARING CAREER MARKS
In their time in the Orange and Blue, senior Brandi Donnelly and juniors Jordyn Poulter and Ali Bastianelli have made a place for themselves in the Illini record books. Donnelly currently sits third in career digs with 1,784, just 137 off of Ashley Edinger’s second place mark of 1,921. Jennifer Beltran holds the record with 2,220 digs in her four years.
Meanwhile, Poulter ranks ninth in career assists with 2,749 helpers after passing former teammate Alexis Viliunas over the weekend and is just 57 assists away from equaling former Illini Annie Luhrsen for eighth place. Melissa Beitz ranks first in program history with 5,797 assists from 1996-99.
After entering the top 10 for career block assists last weekend, Bastianelli passed former great Liz McMahon for ninth position with five block assists at Indiana and is just five stuffs away from tying Betsy Spicer for eighth place. Former player and director of operations Johannah Bangert owns the program record with 613 block assists from 2007-10.
Bastianelli is just outside the top 10 for total career blocks, sitting 12th with 445 stuffs. She needs 10 more to enter in a tie for ninth with former teammate Katie Stadick and Sara Sorrell at 455. Bangert also holds the career record for total blocks at 653.
ILLINI SET HITTING PERCENTAGE RECORD AGAINST WKU
The Illini set a new single-match hitting percentage school record en route to a sweep of No. 24 Western Kentucky on Saturday as part of the Cardinal Classic. Swinging .652 as a team, the Illini led by a .917 hitting percentage from junior Ali Bastianelli.
Topping the previous school record of .635 set back on September 1, 1992 at Northwestern, the Illini were hitting on all cylinders on Saturday morning, finishing each set with an attack percentage north of .600, with a first-set mark of .708, a second-set clip of .632 and a third-set .609 percentage. The best single-match team hitting percentage during the rally-scoring era, which began in 2001, was a .483 performance against Murray State at Huff Hall on September 17, 2016.
TAMAS NAMED EIGHTH VOLLEYBALL HEAD COACH
Following the departure of former head coach Kevin Hambly to Stanford in January, Director of Athletes Josh Whitman selected Chris Tamas as the new head coach of the Fighting Illini volleyball program on February 10, 2017. He is the eighth head coach in the history of the program.
Tamas came to Illinois following many years learning from some of the game’s great coaches, including John Cook at Nebraska and former U.S. National Team coaches Hugh McCutcheon and Ron Larsen. In all, Tamas is in his ninth year of collegiate coaching including two years at Nebraska, two years at Cal Poly, two years at Minnesota and two years at UC-Riverside.
Tamas is a 2003 graduate of the University of the Pacific with a degree in sports sciences. He was a four-year starter for the Tigers and a unanimous AVCA All-American first team selection and team MVP during his 2003 senior season. In four years with the U.S. Men’s National Team (1999, 2003, 2005-06), Tamas made 34 appearances, and, in 1999, helped the squad to a silver medal at the World Junior Championships in Havana. As national team captain in 2003, Tamas helped lead the United State to a bronze medal at the World University Games in Daegu, South Korea.
A training camp invitee for the U.S. squad that eventually captured the 2008 Olympic gold medal, Tamas also helped U.S. teams to silver at the 2005 World Grand Champions Cup in Japan and, as a setter, to a gold at the 2006 NORCECA Championships in Mexicali, Mexico.
As a professional, Tamas competed for six years overseas with clubs Protect Eye Orion (Netherlands), Antigos Alunos (Portugal), Real Grupo (Spain), Erdemir (Turkey), Dionysos (Cyprus) and Isku (Finland). In Finland and Cyprus, Tamas helped his clubs to national cup championship.