Junior Laura DeBruler led the Illini with 13 kills on Friday.
Sept. 4, 2009
LAS CRUCES, N.M. - No. 8 Illinois (2-1) was never able to get things going on Friday afternoon against Florida State (4-1), falling to the Seminoles in straight sets 26-24, 25-22, 25-17 at the Pan-American Center. Junior Laura DeBruler and senior Kylie McCulley each had double-digit kills, but were unable to overcome the well-balanced attack of Florida State which hit over .300 in sets two and three.
"We had streaks where we played really well today, but just couldn't string it together," head coach Kevin Hambly said. "We didn't handle the ball well on serve-receive and made too many errors, which is completely uncharacteristic of this team. Our block was better than last weekend, but we just need to work on stringing everything together for tomorrow."
DeBruler came out strong in the opening set, tallying six of her game-high 13 kills in the first frame, and sophomore Michelle Bartsch added four kills to the Illini attack. The Orange and Blue out-hit Florida State in the back-and-forth first set, but struggled on serve-receive, giving up three aces and falling 26-24 to start the match.
The Illini jumped out to an early lead in the second set, but never regained the advantage after a 9-0 run by the Seminoles. After trailing 18-11 midway through the second set, Illinois battled back to get within one at 23-22, but dropped the next two points to end the set. McCulley paced the Illini in the second frame with five kills, but Illinois only hit .162 compared to .310 by the Seminoles.
In the third set, Illinois couldn't find its rhythm and struggled against the hot-hitting Seminoles, which hit .348 in the frame and closed out the match on a 13-3 run.
Illinois out-blocked Florida State 9-7 for the match, but only hit .116 compared to .267 for the Seminoles.
The Illini return to action on Saturday at 2 p.m. CT against tournament-host New Mexico State and will play an exhibition match later that night against the Italian Club Team.