Donnelly Wins Battle of Returns With Abbott as (RV) Illinois Swept Northwestern

  0 Derek Johnson | November 02nd, 2017 | Big Ten, College - Women's Indoor, News


  • (RV) Illinois def. Northwestern 3-0 (25-18, 25-22, 25-15)
  • (RV) Illinois improves to 17-7 (8-5, Big Ten); Northwestern drops to 13-12 (3-10, Big Ten)
  • Champaign, Illinois (Big Ten Match)
  • Attendance: 1,755
  • Box Score

Champaign, Illinois – Coming into the match it was Northwestern getting a lift as star outside hitter Symone Abbott was back after missing a pair of matches. However, even the return of Abbott wasn’t enough as (RV) Illinois earned the three-set sweep of Northwestern.

Although they lost, the return of Abbott and her strong play – nine kills while hitting .368 – is huge for Northwestern as they look to turn things around down the stretch of the season. The strong play of Nia Robinson also continued after she stepped up in Abbott’s absence as she logged 13 kills and eight digs.

Beyond that though, the Fighting Illini were able to stifle the rest of the Northwestern attack as no other player logged more than five kills. The big reason for it was the return of libero Brandi Donnelly, who also made an impact in recording 14 digs and limiting the Wildcats’ offense.

Add to it that Illinois saw a highlight day from Tyanna Ozamic, who set a new career-high with 11 kills and did so while hitting .714 to go with six blocks.

While Northwestern didn’t get quite the balance, Illinois did in showing why they’ve had such a strong season as four players hit over .300 in Ozamic, Jacqueline Quade (nine kills, .304, three blocks), Beth Prince (eight kills, .300) and Megan Cooney (five kills, .500, three blocks).

In total for the match, Illinois’ balance helped them knock down a high .348 clip of attacks compared to .184 for Northwestern. The Fighting Illini also notched more aces (6-2) with two less serve errors and dominated in blocks (12-3), as they normally do.

Next up, Illinois has another home match as they play host to Michigan on Saturday. Northwestern will be home on the day as well to take on a school from the same state as they host #10 Michigan State.


Courtesy of Illinois:

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. – Behind a career night from freshman Tyanna Omazic and the return of senior libero Brandi Donnelly, the Illinois volleyball team earned a season sweep of Northwestern with a straight-sets (25-18, 25-22, 25-15) win on Wednesday (November 1) night in Huff Hall.

Omazic paced the Illini (17-7, 8-5) with a career-high 11 kills and only one error on 14 swings for a .714 hitting percentage as well as a team-high six blocks. Sophomore Jacqueline Quade added nine kills on a .304 hitting percentage and redshirt-sophomore Beth Princenotched eight kills on a .300 attack clip.

Junior Jordyn Poulter totaled 31 assists in directing the Illini to a .348 team hitting percentage in the win.

The Illini were dominate at the net with 12 total blocks – including nine in the third set – to the Wildcats’ three, with junior Ali Bastianelli turning in five and Poulter adding four.

In her return to the court following an October 6 injury, Donnelly led the Illini defense with 14 digs, with Poulter and sophomore Caroline Welsh each posting seven on the night.

Following an early 4-4 tie in the opening set, the Illini grabbed an 8-4 lead on four-straight points, capped by a service ace from sophomore Annika Gereau. UI continued to lead at 10-6 after a Poulter kill, before a block from Bastianelli and freshman Megan Cooney pushed the advantage to 15-10.  A Wildcat kill closed the gap to 16-13, but a 5-0 run gave the Illini their biggest edge of the set at 21-13. The two teams then traded points, before an Omazic finished off the 25-18 set one win.

It was a tight start to the second as Northwestern (13-12, 3-10) held a slight two-point advantage throughout much of the set, until a Quade kill knotted the score at 12-12. Back-to-back NU points then pushed the deficit back to two, before an Illini service error put the Wildcats ahead by three at 19-16. The Illini responded with six-straight points to take a 22-20 lead and then finished off the second by taking three of the last four points for the 2-0 advantage heading into the break.

Back-to-back Illini blocks opened the third as the Orange and Blue built a 7-2 edge on five blocks and kills from Omazic and Cooney. After a Wildcat service ace cut the lead to 13-10, the Illini used a 10-3 run to take command of the set at 23-13. Back-to-back Bastianelli kills then finished of the 25-15 set victory and the sweep of the Wildcats.

The Illini next wrap up their three-match homestand on Saturday (November 4) night in a Big Ten Network-broadcasted battle against Michigan at 7:30 p.m. CT in Huff Hall.

For more Fighting Illini volleyball news, stay tuned to and follow @IlliniVBall on social media: Twitter | Instagram | Facebook.

Courtesy of Northwestern:

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — The Wildcats dropped a midweek matchup to Illinois on Wednesday, falling three sets to none.

Northwestern was led by senior outside hitter Symone Abbott, who returned to the court after missing her last two games with a lower-body injury. She hit .368, totaling nine kills on 19 swings while only committing two errors against the Fighting Illini, who received votes in the most recent AVCA Coaches’ Poll. Abbott had a .474 kill percentage in the contest.

Senior setter Taylor Tashima posted 32 assists in the setback, while first-year libero Lexi Pitsas added 13 digs.

The Wildcats were paced in set one by Abbott, who amassed four kills on 10 attempts, while only committing one error en route to a .300 hitting percentage in the match opener.

As a team, the Wildcats hit .209 but were stifled by the .333 hitting percentage of the Fighting Illini in the first set, falling 25-18.

The Wildcats were able to step-up their offensive attack in the second set, registering a tremendous .433 hitting percentage, which includes five kills on 10 swings for first-year Nia Robinson. They were able to hold Illinois to a .367 clip in the set, but Illinois’ four service aces were able to lead them to a 25-22 set two final.

NU was unable to find the offense in the third set that the squad possessed in the rest of the match, losing 25-14.

The Wildcats return to Evanston to host No. 9 Michigan State on Saturday at historic Beardsley Gym in Evanston Township High School. Northwestern is hosting a Lymphoma Awareness Night for the contest, in support of redshirt sophomore Kaitlin Tavarez, who was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma in August.

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