Rachel VanMeter had 20 kills vs. Michigan.
Oct. 7, 2005
Ann Arbor, Mich. - Rachel VanMeter had 20 kills for Illinois, but it was not enough for the Illini, who fell to Michigan, 30-20, 30-25, 30-19 at Cliff Keen Arena in Ann Arbor,Mich. The loss dropped Illinois to 1-4 in the Big Ten, 10-6 overall. Michigan improves to 9-5, 3-2 in the conference.
VanMeter, who came into the match averaging 5.71kills per game, tops in the Big Ten and third-best in the nation, improved on those numbers with a 6.7 kpg on Friday night. VanMeter had over 40 percent of the Illini's attacks (44 of 108) as Illinois hit .204 for the match.
The three games had the same flow to them. The game was tight through about the first half of the game and each time Michigan going on a run to take control. The Wolverines came into the match eighth in the conference in hitting percentage at .185, but hit a robust .400 on the night, including .483 in the opening game.
Michigan had balance in their attack, successful most of the night from both the outside and the middle. Five Wolverines had between seven and 12 kills, paced by Michelle Pflum's 12 putaways.
Lizzie Bazzetta got the start forIllinois at setter and had 39 assists distributing the ball evenly to both the outside hitters and middle blockers. Vicki Brown and Meghan Macdonald, both middle blockers, each had eight kills with Brown hitting .333, second on the team to VanMeter's .364.
Illinois, which had done a solid job in the first two Big Ten weekends with the block, managed just four blocks vs. Michigan, one solo block and two block assists from VanMeter.
"We were right with them to start each game, and then there would be a breakdown," said Illinois Head Coach Don Hardin.
Illinois took the early lead in the first game at 7-5, scoring from the middle with Meghan Macdonald, who had four kills in the first game, and Vicki Brown, who tallied a pair of kills. As the game wore on, the Wolverines also found success in the middle with Kelly Bowman (3 kills). Both teams hit for a high percentage in the opening half of the game with both team's attack percentage hovering around.500, but as Michigan took control of the game, the Illini's hitting percentage fell off. Michigan took the lead for good with a 4-0 run to make it 15-12 and out-scored the Illini 19-8 to end the game.
Game two was tied 9-9 before the Wolverines went on a 15-9 run to take a 24-18 advantage. Michigan had used the ace to its advantage with 12 aces on the night.
"We worked really hard on the first ball side out, and it just wasn't there tonight," Hardin said.
VanMeter put forth an impressive display at the start of game three. Through the first 11 Illinois points, the senior Pre-Season All-Big Ten performer had three kills, one block assist, and two aces as the Illini led 11-9. Michigan hit just .067 in the first 20 overall points of game three.
"There was a lot of fight in Rachel tonight," Hardin said. "Part of that was out of frustration. That's the kind of energy we need."
After a timeout, Michigan rattled off four straight points and never looked back, out-scoring Illinois 21-8 to close the match.
Illinois travels to Michigan State to meet the Spartans on Saturday night. First serve is at 6 p.m. CST.