Illinois Sweeps DePaul 3-0 in First Round of State Farm Illini Classic
Sept. 5, 2003
Champaign, Ill. - Illinois put on quite a show for its fans during tonight's home opener at Huff Hall, as the Orange and Blue swept DePaul by the score of 30-22, 30-22, 30-20 in front of 1,429 in attendance during first round action of the 20th annual State Farm Illini Classic. With the win, the Illini improve to 3-1 on the year, while DePaul falls to 1-3.
The Illini dominated the Blue Demons from the start, jumping out to a quick 9-1 lead in the first game. Illinois never trailed in games one or two, and DePaul's biggest lead at any point of the match was a one-point advantage on five occasions in game three, the last at 13-12 before Illinois went on a 6-0 run to take the lead back at 19-13 en route to the sweep.
Illinois outhit DePaul .246-.093 and held a commanding 15-3 advantage in blocking. The Illini also served well, registering five aces. Senior middle blocker Lisa Argabright led the way with 13 kills and five blocks, while senior outside hitter Melissa Vandrey joined Argabright in double figures in kills with 11. Two other Illini shared team-high blocking honors with Argabright, as Jessica Belter and Rachel VanMeter each added five blocks, highlighted by a career-high three solo blocks from VanMeter.
Junior Lauren Harks continued her steady play at libero, leading the team with 12 digs and providing excellent passing. Harks has now recorded double figures in digs in all four matches this season. Setter Erin Virtue directed the Illini attack, tallying 39 assists and bringing the crowd to its feet on multiple occasions with her diving digs and saves to keep play alive. She finished the match with eight digs.
Illinois now faces Wake Forest in Saturday's championship match of the State Farm Illini Classic, scheduled for 8:30 p.m. Saturday night. Wake Forest (4-0) moved into the title game with a 3-0 win over Evansville earlier this evening (30-23, 30-20, 30-16).