Laura DeBruler had 10 kills and 10 digs for the Illini on Saturday.
Aug. 22, 2009
Champaign, Ill. -
Laura DeBruler had a double-double with 10 kills and 10 digs to lead Illinois to a straight sets victory over the Alumni on Saturday night, 25-14, 25-20, 25-23 in the final tune-up before the regular season.
"We have been working on a lot in practice," said Illinois head coach Kevin Hambly. "Our biggest challenge is to really compete at a high level, which we did at times tonight. We know we are not going to sneak up on teams this year. We're going to get their best every time out. It will be interesting to see how we handle that."
The Illini had their best hitting percentage in set two at .273 and hit .205 overall for the night. Junior Johannah Bangert paced Illinois with a .294 percentage with eight kills. Michelle Bartsch and Kylie McCulley also had eight kills. Setter Hillary Haen nearly had a double-double with 31 assists and nine digs while assisting Bangert on two blocks.
The Alumni were competitive in sets two and three, paced by Melissa Vandrey, who had 12 kills, including eight kills in the third set. Kristine Anderson, a 2009 graduate, had 17 digs to lead both teams.
Vandrey helped spring a third-set comeback for the Alumni. With Illinois leading 22-14, the Alumni closed to within 24-23 behind the service arms of both Erin Virtue and Kathleen Bazzetta. Lizzie Bazzetta and Vicki Brown scored points in the run and finished the night with eight and six kills, respectively.
"It was great to have our alumni back," Hambly said. "Many of them are legends in Illinois volleyball and some have continued to be competitive professionally."
Freshman Erin Johnson got the start at middle blocker and had three kills. Redshirt freshman Keelin Bourne also saw her first action in an Illinois uniform and had a pair of kills hitting from the right side.
Illinois opens the season Aug. 28-29 at the Blujay Invitational in Omaha, Neb.