Virsilaite helped add to the outstanding team hitting percentage by swinging .526 in the three games against the Spartans.
Oct. 9, 2004
Champaign, Ill. - Illinois was blazing hot Saturday night as they registered a stellar hitting percentage of .462 to complete a much-needed home sweep to stay in the thick of the Big Ten, beating Michigan St. in three games 30-27, 30-22, 30-19 in front of 1,158 at Huff Hall. The Illini now move to 12-3 overall and 4-2 in the Big Ten, while the Spartans fall to 6-8 on the season and 1-5 in the conference.
"Playing at home always has it's positives," head coach Don Hardin said. "It was great to be back home in our house and pull off two wins against two solid teams. Hopefully this kind of weekend can get us back into our momentum."
The Illini's mark of .462 with 59 kills on just 10 errors was the best output since September 12, last season against Manhattan when the Orange and Blue hit .475 with 56 kills and only eight errors. Illinois improved their percentage in each game of tonight's match. Game one they hit .351, in game two they swung .457 and finished with a .588 spot in game three.
Jessica Belter again led the Illini in kills as she stayed on a roll with 18 kills on 27 swings for a .519 percentage. Three other Illini joined Belter in double digit kills. Rasa Virsilaite and Rachel VanMeter both had 11 kills, while hitting .526 and .450 respectively. Virsilaite was the only Illini to notch a double-double, adding 10 digs. Jen Hynds who continues to work her way back into form added 10 kills on 21 swings, hitting .381.
"She came out very aggressive tonight and that's the Jessica we know," Hardin said, talking about Belter's performance tonight. "I thought this entire weekend she was aggressive and really got back that quality she has always had."
The Illini evened the team-blocking category at 5, thanks to 1.5 blocks from Hynds who led Illinois. Illinois was led in digs by Virsilaite's 10 and outdug the Spartans as a team 36-to-33.
The Illini hit the road next week as they travel to Iowa on Friday and follow that with Minnesota in Minneapolis on Saturday. Both matches are scheduled for 7 p.m. CST.