Illinois Survives #25 Missouri State In Epic Five-Set Comeback

  0 Kyp Harasymowycz | September 17th, 2017 | Big Ten, College - Women's Indoor, Division I Mid-Major, News


  • Illinois def. #25 Missouri State, 3-2 (23-25, 21-25, 25-23, 25-21, 15-12)
  • Illinois improves to 9-2; Missouri State drops to 7-5
  • Springfield, Missouri
  • Attendance: 470
  • Box score

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – Illinois, on the brink of losing to #25 Missouri State for the second-straight season, staged an epic comeback coming from 0-2 down to win 3-2 at the Dr. Mary Jo Wynn Invitational at Hammons Student Center. MSU was attempting to win two matches against the Big 10 for the second straight season after defeating Ohio State earlier this season in Columbus, Ohio.

Jacqueline Quade registered her second career double-double by leading the Illini with a career-high 24 kills and missing her career-high of digs by one with 10 digs on the match. Beth Prince added 19 kills while Ali Bastianelli added 14 kills to go along with 9 blocks. All-tournament honoree Jordyn Poulter also finished with a double-double with 47 assists and 23 digs.

Missouri State jumped out to a 2-0 lead with 15 kills in each of the first two sets. Eventually, Illinois’ physicality got the better of the Bears, with the Illini posting 19.5 blocks to Missouri State’s 11. Defending VolleyMob player of the week Lily Johnson led all attackers with 27 kills and dug 12 balls for yet another double-double. While also being named to the All-Tournament team, Johnson set multiple school and MVC conference records in the match, including MSU’s career kills mark of 1920 on a kill midway through the third set. This was also her 39th career 20-kill match, setting yet another school mark. After the nightcap against Tennessee State, Johnson is three kills shy of setting the MVC career kills record (1947), which was set by Lindsay Stalzer of Bradley. As a team, Missouri State also scooped the most digs in program history with 99.

PRESS RELEASE, courtesy of Illini Athletics

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – The Illinois volleyball team show its fight with a come-from-behind five-set (23-25, 21-25, 25-23, 25-21, 15-12) victory over host Missouri State in its finale of the Dr. Mary Jo Wynn Invitational in the Hammons Student Center on Saturday (September 16) afternoon.

The Illini (9-2) 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. Junior Jordyn Poulter and freshman Tyanna Omazic were named to the All-Tournament Team.

Sophomore Jacqueline Quade registered her second career double-double with a career-high 24 kills and came within one of her career-high with 10 digs, while Poulter notched her third double-double of the season and 13th of her career with 47 assists and a career-high 23 digs.

Joining the duo in double figures was redshirt-sophomore Beth Prince with 19 kills and Ali Bastianelli with 14 kills and nine blocks.

As a team, the Illini turned in a season-high 19.5 blocks, with a pair of freshmen impressing at the net as Megan Cooney led the way with 10 stuffs and Omazic added seven blocks.

Senior Brandi Donnelly paced the UI defense with a 25 digs – just one off her career mark – while sophomores Annika Gereau and Caroline Welsh each contributed 12 digs – with Gereau’s effort setting a new career-high.

After dropping two competitive sets to start the match, the Illini came out of the locker room with some fire and used the serve of junior Blayke Hranicka to start the third with eight-straight point en route to a 10-2 lead. MSU answered back with a 10-2 run of its own to even the score at 12-12. UI sprinted ahead at 16-13 capped by a service ace from Omazic, but again the Bears fought back to knot things at 17-17. The two teams traded blows late in the period, before a Quade kill broke a 23-23 tie and Omazic served up her second ace for the 25-23 set three win.

The two teams sided out early in the fourth, before a 7-1 run gave the Illini a 12-6 edge. Quade’s 20th kill of the match then moved the lead to 17-11, but the Bears responded to close with 23-20 on three-straight kills. Following a Bastianelli kill to set up set point, Poulter used a setter dump to push the match to a decisive fifth set.

In a tightly contested fifth set, neither team grabbed more than a two-point lead until the Illini strung together three-straight points, including back-to-back Quade kills for a 9-6 advantage. After MSU came back to knot things at 10-10, the Illini broke a 12-12 tie with the final three points of the match as Poulter and Omazic teamed up for the match-winning block to complete the comeback.

The Illini next open Big Ten Conference play with a four-match road swing, opening with a trip to Bloomington, Ind., to face Indiana on Wednesday (September 20) night at 6 p.m. CT in University Gym.

PRESS RELEASE, courtesy of Missouri State athletics

SPRINGFIELD — Missouri State senior Lily Johnson became the school’s all-time leader in career kills, and the Bears bounced back from a tough five-set loss to Illinois in the afternoon match to complete a sweep of Tennessee State in the finale of the Dr. Mary Jo Wynn Invitational at Hammons Student Center.

Johnson broke Michelle Witzke’s mark with her 1,920th career kill midway through the third set against Illinois, finishing with 27 in the match and adding 16 more against TSU to finish the night with 1,945, three shy of the Missouri Valley Conference record held by former Bradley star Lindsay Stalzer. Johnson’s 39th career match with at least 20 kills also set a new standard at MSU.

All-tournament selections included Washington State’s Taylor Mims (MVP), McKenna Woodford and Ashley Brown, Jordyn Poulter and Tyanna Omazic of Illinois, Johnson, and Chattanooga’s Ally Ford.

The Bears begin Missouri Valley Conference play on the road next week, facing Illinois State at 7 p.m. Friday and Bradley at 7 p.m. Saturday.

Illinois Recap (Illinois won 23-25, 21-25, 25-23, 25-21, 15-12)
The Bears were two points away from a sweep of the Illini, who ranked 29th in the latest AVCA Coaches Poll, but let a 2-0 set lead slip away in the defeat.

In addition to Johnson’s 27 kills in her record-setting performance, Daniele Messa dished out 48 assists and scooped a career-high 25 digs, Emily Butters had 29 digs, and MacKenzie Irwinadded a career-high six blocks.

Illinois ultimately outscored the Bears 109-106 in total points, and leading 68-66 in kills and 19.5-11 in blocking. MSU hit .188 versus .180 for the Illini and lifted a season-high 99 digs.

Missouri State led for the duration of the first set after Johnson hit three straight kills for a 12-8 lead, and both Illinois efforts to serve for the lead late were met with Lauren Boone kills, the last for a 22-21 advantage. MSU used a 5-0 run to lead 10-7 in the second set, and the Illini pulled within a point on four occasions but no closer, as Johnson and Ashley Ophoven had five kills apiece and Irwin had three blocks.

Despite Illinois jumping ahead 8-0 in the third, the Bears pulled even as early as 12-12 and led as late as 23-22 before the Fighting Illini closed on a 3-0 run. The visitors’ sixth block of the fourth set made it 15-8, and MSU got no closer than 23-20 as the teams ended the fourth period with 94 points each for the match.

The fifth set was tied at each point to 6-6 before Illinois took a 9-6 lead. The Bears tied the score three more times, but were unable to break through after a 12-12 deadlock as Illinois closed with a kill and two blocks.

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