Illinois Piles Up 19 Blocks in 3-1 Win Over Louisville to Advance to Sweet 16

  0 volleymob | December 02nd, 2018 | ACC, Big Ten, College - Women's Indoor, News

Illinois def. Louisville 3-1 (25-22, 26-28, 25-17, 25-18)

  • Illinois moves to 30-3; Louisville ends the season at 22-9
  • Illinois advances to Sweet 16
  • Champaign, Illinois
  • Box Score

Courtesy: Illinois Athletics

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. – In front a boisterous crowd of over 3,700 Illini fans, the No. 3 seeded and ranked Illinois volleyball team earned its second-straight trip to the NCAA Sweet 16 and ninth in the last 11 seasons with a hard-fought 3-1 (25-22, 28-26, 25-17, 25-18) victory over Louisville on Saturday (December 1) night in Huff Hall.

The Illini improve to 30-3 on the season and push its winning streak a season-best 15 matches, while making their 18th NCAA Regional appearance in program history and the second in two seasons for head coach Chris Tamas.

As the No. 3 seeded team in the 2018 NCAA Volleyball Tournament, the Illini will host the Regional next Friday and Saturday (December 7-8) in Huff Hall, taking on No. 15 Marquette in the Regional Semifinal on Friday. No. 6 Wisconsin and San Diego will face off in the other semifinal, with the two Friday winners playing for a spot in the Final Four on Saturday. Match times are to be announced.

Junior Jacqueline Quade led the Illini with her 12th career double-double and eighth of the season with a team-high 14 kills to go along with 12 digs, while redshirt-junior Beth Prince added 10 kills on the night.

As a team, the Illini hit at a .281 attack percentage as senior Jordyn Poulter came within three blocks of a triple-double with 44 assists, 10 digs and equaled a season-high with seven blocks – including a career-high three solo stuffs.

The Illini block was dominate at the net as UI registered a season-high 19 blocks to Louisville’s (22-9) five, with senior Ali Bastianelli posting a season-high 10 stuffs in the win, with junior Ashlyn Fleming adding six blocks and sophomore Megan Cooney contributing five on the night.

Sophomore Morgan O’Brien led the Illini floor defense with a match-high 25 digs as the Cardinals were held to a .075 team hitting percentage.

The Illini jumped out to an early 7-3 edge in the opening set as a one-handed O’Brien dig turned into a Poulter setter dump, before an ace from freshman Taylor Kuper pushed the score to 12-8. Four-straight Cardinal scores knotted things at 12-12, but back-to-back errors from the visitors gave the Illini a 17-14 advantage midway through the first. UL again tied the score at 19-19, but UI responded with a 4-1 run to pull ahead at 23-20. Back-to-back Cardinal points cut the edge to one at 23-22, but a Poulter solo block, followed by a Prince kill finished off the first, 25-22.

Following an early 4-4 tie in the second, the Cardinals grabbed a 9-5 lead on a service ace and continued to lead throughout much of the period. The Illini closed the deficit to two on five occasions, before taking an 18-17 lead on four-straight points following a Quade and Bastianelli block. UL answered back with a 4-1 run to retake a 21-19 advantage, but the Illini fought back to knot the score at 22-22 on a Poulter ace. The Illini earned a pair of set points, but the Cardinals scored four of the final five points to even the match with the 28-26 set win.

In another back-and-forth start, the Illini broke a 6-6 tie in the third with eight-unanswered points – including three Prince kills and seven points on the Poulter serve – to take control at 14-6. The Cardinals responded with a 4-0 run of their own to close within 15-11, but four-straight Illini scores stalled the rally, capped by a Bastianelli and Cooney stuff for the 19-11 Illini lead. The two teams then traded scores before Fleming combined with Prince for the set-winning block at 25-17.

Looking to shut the door on the visitors, the Illini raced out to a 10-4 advantage in the fourth following a Bastianelli kill. Louisville responded to close within 13-9 with back-to-back kills, but a 7-2 run propelled the home team to a 20-11 lead. Leading by eight at 22-14 after a UL attack error, the Cardinals notched three-straight points to cut the deficit to 23-17, but back-to-back Illini scores set up match point at 24-17 as a Cooney kill sent the Orange and Blue to the Sweet 16 with the 25-18 fourth set victory.

Courtesy: Louisville Athletics

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — Outside hitters Melanie McHenry and Amanda Green each had 17 kills but it was not enough as the University of Louisville fell 25-22, 26-28, 25-17, 25-18 to Illinois in the second round of the NCAA Volleyball Championship Saturday night in Champaign, Ill.

UofL, making its 27th NCAA tournament appearance, finishes their season at 22-9. The Cardinals hit .075 with five aces and five blocks. The Cardinals got nine kills from Jasmine Bennett, who also had three blocks. Wilma Rivera had 42 assists and 21 digs, adding an ace to her stat column.  Illinois was led by Jacqueline Quade‘s 14 kills and 12 digs.  The Illini hit .281 with three aces and 19 blocks.  Ali Bastianelli led with 10 blocks

In the first set, Illinois ran out to a 5-2 lead, before the Cards were able to tie at 12 after a 4-0 run.  The Illini answered, going up 19-17 on a Cardinal service error.  But a kill on the next play by Amanda Green sparked a 3-0 run that gave the Cardinals a 20-19 lead.  UI had a 4-0 run of its own to go up 23-20.  UofL scored twice, one point coming on a solo block by Marijke Van Dyke before Illinois scored again and then got set point when a tip fell just over the net for the 25-22 win.

The Cardinals took the lead early in the second set, going up 10-7 on a kill by Melanie McHenry.  UofL kept the Illini at bay and led 15-12 at the media timeout on a kill by Amanda Green.  The teams traded points but Louisville kept the lead, going up 17-14 on another kill by Green.  Illinois answered with a 4-0 run and the Cards called timeout when the Illini took the lead at 18-17 on a ball handling error.  Louisville retook the lead at 20-19 on an Illini hitting error and a kill by Melanie McHenry sparked a timeout by UI.  The Illini got to set point at 24-22 on a Cardinal hitting error but Amanda Green went on a tear that saw her rip three straight kills to give UofL set point at 26-25.  The Cards were blocked to allow Illinois to tie at 26.  A critical service error by Illinois was followed up by a McHenry kill for set point and the 28-26 win which evened the set score at one apiece. Green had seven kills and Jasmine Bennett added two blocks to the winning effort.

The Illini used an 8-0 run early in the third set to take a 14-6 lead over the Cardinals.  UofL managed a 5-1 run to get within four at 15-11 but the Illini countered immediately with a 5-1 run to go up 20-12.  UofL scored on a block by Amanda Green to pull to 22-16 but would score just twice more as the Illini used .355 hitting to finish out the 25-17 win.

In the fourth set, UofL struggled with the Illinois block after falling behind 10-4 early. The Cards were trailing 15-9 and could not gain their footing against .350 hitting by the Illini.  Down 20-11, UofL showed grit with a 6-2 run with Melanie McHenry with four kills during that stretch. Illinois called timeout and then cruised to the 25-18 win.

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