Senior Jessica Belter enjoyed a career night against the Wolverines with 25 kills and hitting a percentage of .600.
Oct. 8, 2004
Champaign, Ill. - The 23rd-ranked Illinois volleyball team didn't have it easy Friday night against the visiting Michigan Wolverines but managed to survive the scare winning in five 28-30, 30-22, 30-16, 26-30, 15-12. The Illini now move to 11-3 overall and 3-2 in the Big Ten, while Michigan falls to 14-3 on the season and 4-2 in the conference.
"I thought win or lose tonight, we played aggressive and gave a great effort," head coach Don Hardin said. "I am proud of the way we are progressing as a team and how we are getting better in adjusting to things on floor."
Senior outside hitter Jessica Belter had a career-high 25 kills and hit an outstanding .600 on 40 swings to lead the way for the Illini. Junior outside hitter Rachel VanMeter enjoyed a solid match with19 kills on 44 swings for a .318 average. Freshman Jen Hynds returned to action tonight as she contributed eight kills on 17 swings to hit .471. Rasa Virsilaite recorded a double-double with 17 kills and 17 digs.
Michigan threw everything they had at the Illini to even the match in the fourth game after falling behind 2-1. One of those was Katie Bruzdzinski, who paced the Wolverines with 20 kills, while hitting .381. Michigan who came into the match just outside the Top 25, didn't surprise Illini head coach Don Hardin by their gutsy performance.
"They are a really good team, I feel like they should be a ranked team," Hardin said. "This was big to defeat a team like Michigan tonight, who have shown they can beat anybody in this league. For us to get a win tonight in the stage we are in as a team right now, is huge."
Illinois hit .303 on the evening, but was outblocked 8-to-5 by Michigan. The Illini had a terrific game on the defensive side with four players reaching double-figures, led by Lauren Harks' 18 digs. Senior Kathleen Bazzetta chipped in 16 digs, while Beth Vrdsky added 13 digs. The Orange and Blue outdug the Wolverines 81-to-70. Freshman Stephanie Obermeier recorded a career-high 70 assists, while also leading the Illini on the night with 3 service aces. The Illini held an 8-1 advantage in service aces.
Illinois returns to the court tomorrow night to host Michigan State at 7 p.m. at Huff Hall.