Laura DeBruler had 24 kills and 22 digs vs. Minnesota
Oct. 3, 2008
Champaign, Ill. - In a Big Ten showdown at Huff Hall on Friday night, the No. 19 Illinois volleyball team battled hard but fell short to the No. 13 Minnesota Golden Gophers, 3-2 (25-23, 20-25, 25-22, 21-25, 15-8). The Illini were led by sophomore Laura DeBruler who had 24 kills on the night, including 10 kills in the fourth set alone. Minnesota remains unbeaten in the Big Ten at 3-0 while improving to 13-2 overall. The Illini move to 10-4 overall and 1-2 in the conference.
"I'm really proud of the entire team for their effort tonight," Illinois head coach Don Hardin said. "It was a great defensive match. Tonight, we had some of the best rallies I've seen."
Minnesota libero Christine Tan paced the match with 36 digs, but the Illini countered with 28 digs from Edinger and a career-best 22 digs from DeBruler. DeBruler becomes the first Illini to join the 20-20 Club since Sue Webber (22-26) on Oct. 12, 2002.
Illinois and Minnesota came into the match as two of the top blocking teams in the nation with Minnesota ranking third nationally and Illinois 22nd. The Gophers out-blocked the Illini 12-10. The Gophers' Lauren Gibbemeyer, who ranks third individually, finished with eight blocks, while Illinois' Johannah Bangert, who ranks sixth, finished with five.
In the first set, the two teams traded points back and forth with neither one taking an advantage greater than four points. At 23 all, the Gophers snuck by taking the next two points to close out the set.
The Illini bounced back in the second set by taking a commanding 20-14 lead. The Orange and Blue benefited by a lackluster performance from the Gophers, with Minnesota hitting just .054.
With six lead changes in the opening minutes, the Gophers jumped out to an early 11-10 advantage in the third set. The Illini chipped away but could not overcome the feisty Gophers in the third. Minnesota held a .208 to .111 hitting advantage over the Illini.
The Orange and Blue climbed to a 10-8 early lead in the fourth set. The Gophers were never able to catch up as the Illini stormed to a 25-21 fourth set victory, paced by DeBruler's 10 kills and a match-high .237 hitting percentage.
The Illini could not carry the momentum into the final set, as they never found their rhythm against the Gophers. Minnesota took the match with 15-8 victory in the final set. Brook Dieter, who led Minnesota with 18 kills, was especially potent in that fifth set.
"I think Minnesota is playing the second-best in the league right now," Hardin added. "But we are playing better volleyball. We can't let this emotional loss carry into tomorrow."
The Illini look to rebound tomorrow night in a conference matchup against the Iowa Hawkeyes at 7 p.m..The Hawkeyes suffered their first Big Ten loss Friday night falling to No. 18 Purdue, 3-0.