Late Rallies Lift #5 Stanford Over #25 Illinois In Offensive Battle

  0 Wendy Mayer | September 08th, 2017 | Big Ten, College - Women's Indoor, News, Pac 12


  • #5 Stanford def. #25 Illinois 3-0 (25-23, 25-23, 25-22)
  • Stanford moves to 5-1; Illinois falls to 6-1
  • Champaign, Illinois
  • Attendance: 4,152
  • Box Score


CHAMPAIGN, Ill. – In a match that saw both teams hit over .400, No. 5 Stanford topped No. 25 Illinois in a very close sweep.

Stanford hit at a consistent .414 clip in each set, while Illinois started strong, hitting .485 and dropped to .400 and then .333 in the following stanzas.

The Cardinal hit .414 for the match, while the Fighting Illini checked in at .409. Illinois, which leads the nation in blocks per set, outdid Stanford 9-8 at the net, but were outdone in kills (49-48) and aces (4-2).

Sophomore outside hitter Kathryn Plummer managed 14 kills and hit at a .440 clip to pace Stanford, while redshirt senior opposite Merete Lutz tacked on 12 kills in her season debut for the Cardinal. Sophmore middle blocker Audriana Fitzmorris added eight kills, while hitting at a team-leading .636 clip, and putting up a team-best four blocks. Junior middle Tami Alade also added four stuffs. Sophomore setter Jenna Gray was tops among the Cardinal in digs with eight.

Junior middle Ali Bastianelli accounted for 15 kills, while hitting at a .619 clip, and adding a team-leading six blocks for Illinois. Redshirt sophomore outside Beth Prince (13) and sophomore outside Jacqueline Quade (11) also chipped in double-digit kill efforts while hitting over .400 for the night. Freshman outside Megan Cooney  added five blocks for the Illini. Junior setter Jordyn Poulter pulled up a team-best six digs in the match.

The teams traded points over the first 20 serves leading to a 10-all tie. Stanford pulled away by two at 12-10 after a Lutz/Fitzmorris block and an Illini miscue. Kills by Bastianelli and Prince knotted the score againat 13. The Cardinal scored four of the next five, including two more Illinois errors, to go ahead 17-14. The Illini answered with a 5-1 run of its own to vault ahead 19-18 as Quade put down two kills. The teams tied at 19, 20 and 21, before a kill and a block by Bastianelli put Illinois on top 23-21. Stanford closed out the stanza on a 4-0 run, including two kills and a block by Fitzmorris.

Stanford scored six in a row to snap an early 5-all tie in Set 2. Two ace by Gray and two kills and a block by Plummer bouyed the run. Illinois chipped away, eventually tying the score at 14 on a Prince kill. Three Cardinal miscues aided the rally. The teams traded points over the next eight points before a pair of Quade terminations gave the Illini a 20-18 edge. Down 22-20, Stanford came through with a 5-1 run to steal away the win. Two Plummer kills and two Illinois errors helped the Cardinal to victory.

Stanford built a 12-6 lead in Set 3 as Plummer turned it on with three kills in a block, helping the Cardinal pull away from a 6-all tie. Down 14-8, the Illini managed seven of the next eight points, including four kills and a block by Bastianelli, to even the score at 15. A pair of Gray kills lifted Stanford to a 20-17 advantage. Illinois would cut the margin to one four times, last at 23-22, but could not break through. Kills by Lutz and Gray sewed up the 25-22 win and the sweep.



Courtesy: Stanford Athletics

Making her season debut, redshirt senior Merete Lutz helped guide No. 4 Stanford to a 25-23, 25-23, 25-22 win over Illinois, Friday, in front of a sellout crowd of 4, 152 at Huff Hall.

Stanford (5-1), which improved to 8-0 all-time against Illinois (6-1), spoiled the previously undefeated Illini’s home opener. The Cardinal hit .414 in all three sets, holding off Illinois which hit at a .409 clip for the match.

Lutz finished with 12 kills on .381 hitting and two blocks after missing Stanford’s first five matches due to injury.

Sophomore outside hitter Kathryn Plummer led Stanford with 14 kills on a .440 attack percentage to go with four digs, three blocks and an ace. Sophomore middle blocker Audriana Fitzmorris hit .636 with eight kills and four blocks.

Sophomore setter Jenna Gray dished out 40 assists and matched her career-high with six kills, including one on match-point. The Shawnee, Kansas native also had a season-best eight digs and tied her career-high with two aces.

In a competitive first set, which had 16 tie scores and nine lead changes, Stanford found itself down 23-21 and forced to call timeout. Out of the break, Fitzmorris went to work, notching a kill, while a service ace from freshman Kate Formico tied it at 23-23. Fitzmorris tacked on another kill and teamed up with Michaela Keefe for a block to seal the 25-23 win for Stanford.

Stanford trailed again late in the second set, 22-20, before utilizing a 5-1 run to capture a 2-0 lead in the match. Plummer tallied two kills down the stretch while Illinois was hurt by unforced errors.

Illinois was led by junior middle blocker Ali Bastianelli, who finished with 15 kills on a .619 hitting percentage and six blocks. Outside hitters Beth Prince and Jacqueline Quade recorded 13 and 11 kills, respectively.

Illinois fans graciously welcomed back Cardinal head coach Kevin Hambly, who spent eight seasons at the helm of the Illini program.

Stanford has a quick turnaround, playing No. 3 Penn State on Saturday at 3 p.m. PT. The rematch between the Cardinal and Nittany Lions will be streamed live by Illinois Athletics.


Courtesy: Illinois Athletics

In front of a soldout crowd of 4,152 raucous Illini fans, the Illinois volleyball team showed its grit despite falling to No. 4 Stanford, 3-0 (25-23, 25-23, 25-22) on Stuff Huff Night at Huff Hall on Friday (Sept. 8).The 4,152 fans in attendance marked the 13th match in program history with an attendance over 4,000 and was the seventh-best attended match in program history.

“It was a tough one tonight,” said head coach Chris Tamas. “I think if we look back on film that we are going to see that we could have made a few plays here and there. But, it is also a good learning moment for us to play in this environment and have a couple freshman step in and returners played really well. Overall, I am proud of the play but I think, as always, there is room for improvement and I think we are going wish we had a few plays back. I think if we learn, we move on and that is pretty much what is going to happen. We take it for the next match tomorrow versus Colorado and we take it to the next week and after that.”

Ali Bastianelli and redshirt-sophomore Beth Prince led the Illini (6-1) on the night as the junior middle blocker paced the team with a match-high 15 kills on a .619 hitting percentage and six blocks, while Prince notched a career-high 13 kills on a .440 attack percentage. Sophomore Jacqueline Quade added 11 kills on a .400 hitting clip and five digs in the match.

As a team, the Illini continued their impressive hitting percentage with a .409 mark in the match, including a .485 percentage in the opening set, as junior setter Jordyn Poulter registered 39 assists and a team-high six digs on the night.

It was a point-for-point start of the match until the Cardinal (5-1) took a 17-14 edge midway through the first, but the Illini battled back with a string on four-straight points, capped by a block from Bastianelli and freshman Megan Cooney put the Illini up 19-18. After back-to-back points from Bastianelli gave UI a two-point advantage at 23-21, the Cardinal responded with a four-point run of their own to take the opener, 25-23.

Early in the second, Stanford broke a 5-5 tie with a 6-0 run to grab an early 11-5 lead and would continue to hold it until a Bastianelli ace, followed by a Prince kill finished off a 5-1 run to even the score at 14-14. From there, the two teams traded the lead back-and-forth until Quade knocked back-to-back kills to grab a 20-18 edge. Stanford fought back to knot things at 22-22, before the next three of four points for the 25-23 set win and the 2-0 advantage in the match.

Out of the break, it was all Stanford as the visitors grabbed an early 12-6 lead on six-straight points, but again the Illini fought back as a Bastianelli and Jordyn Poulter block combined with a Cardinal hitting error brought the Illini within one at 14-13. A Bastianelli kill then even the set at 15-15, before Stanford pushed their lead back to 20-17. The Illini closed within 23-22 on a Quade kill, but back-to-back Cardinal kills finished the set and the match.

The Illini outblocked their opponent for the seventh-straight match, 9.0-8.0, with freshman Megan Cooney stuffing five on the night.

The Illini wrap up play in the Big Ten/Pac-12 Challenge on Saturday (September 9) against Colorado at 2:30 p.m. CT in Huff Hall.

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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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