Lisa Argabright was named MVP of the 2003 State Farm Illini Classic.
Sept. 6, 2003
Champaign, Ill. -
Illinois captured its 14th State Farm Illini Classic title tonight, in this the 20th anniversary of the annual tournament, as the Illini defeated Wake Forest in three games by the score of 30-28, 30-20, 30-17 in front of 1,298 fans at Huff Hall. With the victory, the Illini improve to 4-1 on the season while handing Wake Forest its first loss of 2003, dropping the Demon Deacons to 4-1 as well.
Illinois picked up against Wake Forest right where it left off from Friday's 3-0 sweep over DePaul. The Illini offense registered an impressive season-high hitting percentage of .364, led by the brilliant setting of junior Erin Virtue. Virtue tallied 52 assists and distributed the ball evenly amongst her hitters, as five UI players tallied at least seven kills. Virtue added 11 digs and a match-high two service aces en route to earning All-Tournament Team honors. Virtue combined to average 15.2 assists and 3.2 digs in Illinois' two Illini Classic wins.
Virtue's favorite setting target throughout the weekend was senior Lisa Argabright. And Argabright came through against Wake Forest with a performance deserving of being named State Farm Illini Classic MVP. The 6-5 middle blocker had a match-high 18 kills (tying her season high) with only one error in 29 swings, good for a sizzling attack percentage of .586. She also added a match-high six blocks. On the weekend, Argabright combined to average 5.2 kills and 1.8 blocks per game.
Senior outside hitter Melissa Vandrey was also named to the All-Tournament Team. Vandrey, who had 11 kills and three blocks in Friday's win over DePaul, registered eight kills and six digs tonight against Wake Forest.
Senior Shelly O'Bryan was nearly as proficient as her fellow middle Argabright. O'Bryan finished with 11 kills on .529 hitting. Sophomore Rachel VanMeter chipped in with 12 kills while junior Lauren Harks continued her brilliant play at libero with a match-high 12 digs, extending her streak to five consecutive matches of reaching double figures, which spans every match this season.
The Fighting Illini, winners of three straight matches, are on the road next weekend at a tournament hosted by the University of Connecticut. Illinois will face Manhattan on Sept. 12, followed by Akron and Connecticut on Sept. 13.
State Farm Illini Classic Most Valuable Player
Lisa Argabright, Illinois