Youth and resilience categorize 2012 season
The Illini will honor their five seniors following Saturday's match
Illinois falls 17-15 in their 11th fifth set of the season
Illinois will face No. 2 Penn State live on the Big Ten Network on Thursday night
Erin Johnson matched her career high with nine blocks in the match
Michelle Bartsch will serve as a student assistant coach while completing her undergraduate degree in sport management.
Bartsch was named a first-team All-American by Volleyball Magazine after helping the Illini to the national runner-up. She earned her third AVCA All-American as well, claiming third team accolades after having being named third team as a junior in 2010 and honorable mention as a sophomore in 2009. She was also the Mideast Region Freshman of the Year in 2008. Bartsch was named to the Gainesville Regional All-Tournament team after combining for 30 kills and 17 digs in victories over Ohio State and Florida. The All-Big Ten performer was named MVP of the BYU/Nike Invitational, the State Farm Illini Classic and the Big Ten/Big East Challenge.
Bartsch ends her career ranked seventh on Illinois' career kills list with 1,644 and 10th in career digs with 1,035. She is fifth on the Illinois single-season kills list with 557, seventh in single-season digs with 466, fourth on the all-time career block assists list (422) and eighth in career total blocks (451). Bartsch ranked 16th on prepvolleyball.com's Senior Aces list coming out of Collinsville High School and made an immediate impact on the program by being selected Mideast Region Freshman of the Year and Big Ten Freshman of the Year in 2008.
Bartsch helped Illinois to four straight Big Ten runner-up finishes and four straight appearances in the NCAA Sweet 16, culminating in the win over No. 1 USC in the NCAA National Semifinal match in 2011. She was named to the All-NCAA Tournament Team after totaling 44 kills and 36 digs in the final two matches of the tournament.
A regular member of the USA Volleyball ladder, she was a starter at middle blocker for the U.S. Junior National Team that won gold at the 2008 NORCECA Championships, where she also was named best server of the tournament. She also was one of several Illinois players invited to compete on the USA Volleyball A2 select team at the United States Volleyball Open Championships. After the collegiate season, she competed professionally in Puerto Rico.
Named Third Team All-America...Named to the All-NCAA Tournament Team after totaling 44 kills and 36 digs in the final two matches of the tournament ... Named All-Big Ten ... Named All-Mideast Region ... Named to Gainesville Regional All-Tournament Team after combining for 30 kills and 17 digs against Ohio State and Florida ... Named MVP of the BYU/Nike Invitational after tallying 40 kills, 34 digs and 13 blocks ... Had a career-high nine blocks vs. St. Mary's. The Illini had 16 as a team ... Named State Farm Illini Classic Tournament MVP and Big Ten Player of the Week after amassing 64 kills and 59 digs while hitting .273 in the tournament... Ranked sixth in the Big Ten in kills per set (3.90) and 6th in points per set (4.45) ... Posted just Illinois' third 20-20 match since 2002 with 21 kills and 23 digs vs. Tennessee, then repeated the feat the following night against Dayton with 24 kills and 20 digs. She is just the sixth Illinois player ever with multiple 20-20 performances ... Ended her career ranked seventh on Illinois' career kills list with 1,644 and 10th on the career digs list with 1,035 ... Ranks seventh on Illinois' single-season digs list with 466 and ranks fourth on the all-time career block assists list (422) and eighth in career total blocks (451) ... Named MVP of the Big Ten/Big East challenge after having 22 kills and 20 digs combined in the two wins ... Led the Illini in kills (557) and was second in digs (466) ... Her 557 kills were fifth-most all-time in a single-season (557) in school history ... Shared Big Ten Co-Player of the Week honors (Sept. 26) after averaging 4.1 kills, 3.0 digs, and 0.6 blocks per set in wins at #9 Minnesota and Wisconsin ... Tallied 20 double-doubles on the season...Set a career high with five aces in a win against Indiana. The Illini had nine total in the match ... Had a career high 25 digs in a win at #8 Penn State ... Tied for the team lead in aces this season (29)... Sixth 20-plus kill match came against MSU with 22 kills ... Hit .455 with 11 kills in opening round sweep of CMU and had 50 kills through four rounds of the NCAA Tournament.
Selected to USA Volleyball A2 team ... Named third-team All-America, first-team All-Mideast Region and All-Big Ten ... Tabbed MVP of the Time Warner Cable Invitational after leading Illinois to victories over Texas and Florida A&M ... Earned Big Ten Player of the Week after performance at Texas after hitting .526 with 10 kills in 19 swings vs. Texas and .500 with nine kills in 16 swings vs. Florida A&M ... Went down with an ankle injury in set three of the Nebraska match, missing the remainder of the match ... Returned to the line-up the following weekend at the Big Ten/Big East Challenge, earning all-tournament honors, amassing 30 kills and 13 digs combined vs. Cincinnati and Louisville ... Set a career high with 25 kills vs. Michigan State ... Recorded 23 double-digit kill matches, including in 21 of the last 25 matches and had three 20+ kills matches during the month of October ... Amassed nine double-doubles ... Ranked seventh in kills per set (3.56) and ninth in points per set (4.11) in the Big Ten ... Turned in her fourth 20+ kill match of the season with a match-high 21 kills against Iowa ... Recorded double-digit kills in seven-straight matches to end the season.
Named Honorable Mention All-America and Honorable Mention All-Big Ten ... Played back row after playing just three rotations in 2008 ... Led Illinois in kills in the NCAA Tournament first-round win over IPFW (15) ... Named to the all-tournament team at the season-opening Bluejay Invitational ... Opened the season with 15 kills while hitting .560 in 25 attacks vs. Texas Tech ... Had one of the most dominating performances of the season with 13 kills while hitting .812 in a straight sets victory over Ohio, which was the fourth-best hitting percentage by a Big Ten player ... Named to the all-tournament team at the State Farm Illini Classic ... Posted her first career double-double with 15 kills and 15 digs in the victory over Saint Louis at the Illini Classic ... Led Illinois in kills five times ... Posted 16 kills while hitting .343 vs. Penn State, which included nine kills in set three ... Combined with Johannah Bangert for match-deciding block in five-set comeback win over Michigan ... Ranked seventh in the Big Ten in blocks per set (1.10) and seventh in the league in blocks per set during conference-only matches (1.14) ... Hit over .300 in eight matches.
Mideast Region Freshman of the Year ... Honorable Mention All-Mideast Region ... Starter at right-side hitter ... Starter at middle blocker for the U.S. Junior National Team that won the gold medal at the NORCECA Championships ... Named Big Ten Freshman of the Year and was a unanimous choice for the Big Ten's All-Freshmen Team ... Ranked seventh in the Big Ten in blocks per set at 1.21 in conference-only matches ... Amassed a season-best for kills (21) and attacks (51) in a five-set victory over No. 18 Michigan and followed that with 14 kills in a win over Ohio State ... Ranked third on the Illini in kills with 292 and second on the squad with 131 blocks ... Averaged 2.56 kills per set during Big Ten matches ... Had nine kills and hit .500 in her Illini debut in a three-set victory over North Carolina ... Had a couple of monster matches at the Tennessee Comcast Classic with 15 kills vs. Tennessee and 13 kills while hitting .310 vs. Gardner-Webb.
Starter at middle blocker for U.S. Junior National Team that won gold at the 2008 NORCECA Championships, where she also was named Best Server at the tournament ... Ranked 16th among 2007 senior class nationally by prepvolleyball.com ... Selected for the 2006 U.S. Girls' Youth National Team that participated in the World Championships and won a gold medal at the NORCECA Championships ... Helped Collinsville Kahoks to the supersectional for the second time in four years ... Named Metro Area Player of the Year and Honorable Mention All-America ... Named MVP of three tournaments in 2007 ... Two-time all-state selection after earning honorable mention all-state honors as a freshman and sophomore ... Set school records for kills and blocks in a season ... Named the Madison County Athlete of the Year by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch ... Was named to prepvolleyball.com's list of "Top 59 Freshmen," Top 79 Sophomores" and "Top 50 Recruits" nationally during her career ... Three-time first-team All-Southwest Conference honoree ... Her senior season numbers included a .420 hitting percentage, 469 kills (5.86 kpg), 92 blocks (1.15 bpg), 412 digs (5.15 dpg) ... Played for Southwest Illinois Volleyball Club ... Four-year starter in basketball, eclipsing the 1,000-point plateau and shooting 63.5 percent from the field while earning honorable mention all-state accolades as a junior ... Qualified for sectionals as a member of the swim team and placed sixth at the regional track and field meet in the triple jump.
Born on Feb. 12 ... Daughter of Michael and Julie Bartsch ... Has one brother, Andrew ... Majoring in sport management ... Mother played volleyball at Kansas ... Father played soccer at Blackburn College ... Member of National Honor Society, Saturday Scholars, Latin Club and Student Council ... Enjoys listening to music, having G-raffe travel with us and tye dying.
Michelle Bartsch's Career Highs
K: 25 at Michigan State (10/8/10)
TA: 71 vs. Dayton (9/3/11)
Pct: .812 (13-0-16) vs. Ohio (9/19/09)
A: 5, 3x, last vs. Iowa (11/26/11)
SA: 5 vs. Indiana (9/30/11)
D: 25 at Penn State (10/8/11)
BS: 2, 4x, last at Ohio State (10/7/11)
BA: 9, 4x, last at Northwestern (11/25/09)
TB: 10, 2x, last at Michigan (10/3/09)
Career Plans: Play professional volleyball for as long as my body lets me, then come back to coach
Fun Fact: My hometown has the World's Largest Catsup Bottle
Favorite Movie: Notting Hill
Secret Talent: I am a Fruit Ninja Sensei
Favorite Game: Rock, Paper, Scissors
Lucky Number: 4
Favorite Subject in High School: Chemistry
Favorite Class at Illinois: Legal Aspects of Sport
Crazy thing you dream of doing someday: Moving to Australia and living on the beach
Who did you idolize growing up: Mia Hamm
What are you most proud of and why: My brother, for going to college in California on an athletic scholarship because he has worked hard to do what he has always wanted
Favorite Sundae Topping: Sprinkles
Weirdest Quirk: I'm not weird like my team, so anything I say can't be considered weird when being compared to them...
Favorite Professional Sports Team: St. Louis Ambush Soccer (It doesn't exist anymore though)
Favorite TV Show: Glee
Favorite Musical Artist: Josh Groban
Three things on your "bucket list:" Travel the world with no responsibilities, surf huge waves on my own and go to an all day concert