Kylie McCulley had nine kills and hit .353 in Illinois' 3-0 win over SIU-Edwardsville.
Sept. 19, 2008
Champaign, Ill. -
The 23rd-ranked University of Illinois volleyball team needed just 76 minutes to dispatch in-state foe Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville, winning in three sets, 25-18, 25-13, 25-13, in front of a crowd of 1,402. The Fighting Illini tied a season-high with 11 service aces and used stellar offensive and defensive play. Illinois hit .306 for the match on 45 kills, while allowing the Cougars to log a hitting percentage of just .032.
Four Illini hit over .300 for the match for just the second time this season, led by the impressive offensive output by Laura DeBruler, who had a match-high 13 kills, and Kylie McCulley and Abby Nelson, who added nine kills each. The Illini improved to 9-2 on the season as they wrap up the pre-conference portion of the schedule.
"We really had a smooth performance tonight in our last competitive match before the Big Ten season begins," Illinois head coach Don Hardin said. "We had the opportunity to develop some players tonight and see how some of the other girls responded in this setting.
"It was a great student crowd and a great crowd period," Hardin added. "It means so much to us to see students come out here and watch us perform on their Friday nights."
The Fighting Illini served seven aces in the opener to set the tone, led by three straight from Nelson. Down 3-4 in the beginning minutes, the UI rattled off six straight points and never looked back in the 25-18 victory.
Illinois dominated the second set offensively with 17 kills for a .363 hitting percentage, while holding SIUE to just five kills in 27 attempts (.037 percentage). Much like the opening set, the Illini used a 7-0 run to separate themselves from the Cougars at 13-6, en route to a final set score of 25-13.
Heading into the third and final set, the Illini had logged just one team block. That all changed as the Illinois frontline put on a blockathon, tallying five in the 25-13 win. The defense stifled the Cougars, forcing nine errors and allowing just four kills as SIU posted a negative hitting percentage.
Although the Fighting Illini don't return to action until next weekend, the squad will host a Family Fun Fest tomorrow at Huff Hall from 10 a.m.- Noon. Admission is free. The event is targeted at families and kids but all fans are welcome. Young fans will have an opportunity to interact and get pictures and autographs with their favorite players. They will be able to test their skills at several stations - including passing and serving.
Illinois begins Big Ten Conference play on Friday, Sept. 26 at Indiana.