Vicki Brown had 18 kills vs. the Alumni Saturday.
Aug. 18, 2007
Champaign, Ill. - Vicki Brown had 18 kills and hit .850 as the Illini downed the Alumni 4-0 (30-20, 30-13, 30-23, 15-8) at Huff Hall Saturday night. Brown hit a perfect 1.000 with seven kills in the opening game and finished with just one hitting error in 20 attempts. She added eight blocks, including four solo
"Vicki is no longer just a phenomenal athlete, she's a player," said Illinois head coach Don Hardin. "She has taken her game to another level. She hit some experienced shots to the corner and she was focused."
Besides Brown's play, this is the first chance that the six Illini freshman had a chance to take to the Huff Hall court. They were impressive as well. The Illini backside block of Abby Nelson and Nicole Kump keyed a total of 14 team blocks for the Illini. Kump had seven block assists, while Nelson added five block assists.
Illinois proved battled tested against two of the better hitters in recent memory - Sue Webber Jacobson and Rachel VanMeter. Webber led the way for the alumni with 14 kills, while VanMeter added 10 kills, but in large part to the big block, the Alumni hit -.040 as a unit.
"We had better blocking than we've had in a long time," Hardin said. "That was really the story of the night: the freshmen can block. That's not typical of most freshmen. We're emphasizing it, we're working on it and it's showing up already."
Illinois has been experimenting with the 6-2 set, utilizing both setters, freshman Hillary Haen and junior Lizzie Bazzetta. The Illini used that format in game one and hit .571 off of it. Illinois hit .373 overall for the match. Bazzetta led the way with 27 assists while Haen added 19.
"We really like what we saw from the 6-2," Hardin said. "There was a lot of leadership going on out there."
When the Alumni were able to get around the block, Edinger was the there with some impressive ups, finishing the night with 16 digs.
"So far we're happy with the way things have progressed," Hardin said. "That's it for pre season, though Next weekend it's for real."
Illinois opens the season August 24-25 at the Dayton Flyer Classic. The home opener is Sept. 7 vs. Marquette in the opening round of the State Farm Illini Classic.