Senior Nicole Kump turned in a career high seven blocks in the victory.
Oct. 15, 2010
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Playing without a pair of starters on Friday night, the No. 8 Illinois volleyball bounced back from its first conference loss, downing Purdue in four sets (25-19, 25-23, 16-25, 25-12). Junior Michelle Bartsch paced the Illini with 17 kills while fellow junior Colleen Ward turned in a double-double with 13 kills and 11 digs to help the Illini improve to 6-1 in the Big Ten and a half game behind first-place Michigan (7-1). Senior Nicole Kump also stepped up big with a career-high seven blocks.
"We're happy to get out of here with a win," head coach Kevin Hambly said. "Purdue is a good team. They came in hot and I thought both teams played tentative in the first set. We figured out a way to win and Nicole Kump was a big reason why."
Illinois sided out at a rate of 73 percent in taking the first set. Kump was in on all three of Illinois' blocks as the Illini limited the Boilermakers to a .022 attack percentage with just 10 kills. Trailing 9-7, Illinois went on a 4-0 run to take the lead for good in the set, as the last five points came off the serve of Jackie Wolfe, which included an ace. The teams traded side outs before the Illini went on a 9-4 run to close out the set.
Despite being out-hit in the second set, strong serving put the Illini up 2-0 in the match behind three service aces. Bartsch led the way with five kills in the frame while hitting .417, and senior setter Hillary Haen connected on two kills in a pair of attempts. Ward chipped in four kills and Kump added two, as the Illini took the set 25-23.
Purdue got offensive in keeping Illinois from sweeping the match. The Boilermakers hit .357 with 19 kills in the third set, six of those from Ariel Turner, and added four blocks. Purdue used a 9-3 run to take a commanding 17-11 lead, then scored five straight points late in the set to send the match to a fourth set.
The Illini got their rhythm in set four en route to a dominating victory. The Illini regained the advantage in the serve-pass game, forcing the Boilermakers to hit -.054. Bartsch had six of her kills in the final set, including an emphatic blast that brought the crowd to its feet. Illinois went on a 9-0 run to turn a 12-7 lead into a 21-7 advantage, the final eight of those points coming on the serve of Haen. Coleen Ward added four kills and hit .500 in the frame.
"It was important to come out strong in the fourth set and come out with that energy level," Hambly said. "We let them attack us and we let that affect us. We did the opposite in the fourth set, as we attacked them. We did a good job of attacking with our serves, and there was some really good attacking going on."
The Illini out-blocked the Boilermakers 8-7 for the match and recorded six service aces compared to one by Purdue. Illinois only hit .191, slightly better than the .157 percentage by Purdue, but still came away with the victory to improve to 14-3 overall.
Up Next: Illinois returns to action on Saturday night at Huff Hall with a match against Indiana at 7 p.m.