Senior Shelly O'Bryan tied her career high in two categories with 16 kills and a hitting percentage of .682 in Illinois' 3-1 win over Indiana.
Oct. 25, 2003
Champaign, Ill. -
In front of a season-high 2,359 fans at Huff Hall, Illinois rolled to a 3-1 win over visiting Indiana by the score of 30-13, 27-30, 30-21, 30-16. With the victory, Illinois extends its winning streak to six consecutive matches and improves to 17-3 on the season and 8-2 in the Big Ten. Indiana, meanwhile, falls to 9-12 overall and 2-8 in the conference.
With an 8-2 record after the first round of conference play, Illinois is in a three-way tie for first place in the Big Ten along with Minnesota and Wisconsin. This marks the first time in Don Hardin's tenure as UI coach that Illinois has been in first place after 10 league matches. It is the third time in Hardin's eight seasons that the Illini have gone 8-2 in the first wave of league play. Prior to this year, Hardin's 1998 and 1999 squads also accomplished the feat.
Illinois improved to 7-0 this season at Huff Hall with tonight's victory. It was an offensive clinic as the Illini tallied a staggering team attack percentage of .400 on the night, marking Illinois' highest hitting percentage in a conference match this season. Coach Hardin credited junior setter Erin Virtue, who finished the match with 60 assists, as the primary reason for Illinois' offensive success.
"It seems we have had a different player step up each match lately, and tonight especially I think that player was Erin Virtue," Hardin said. "She has the ability to see and identify every situation and react accordingly, and that allows us to play the way we want to play. We had great balance tonight."
Senior Lisa Argabright was one of four Illini players to reach double figures in kills, as the middle blocker had a match-high and season-high 22 kills, eclipsing her previous best of 21 kills set Sept. 13 vs. Akron. Argabright hit .559 for the match, her top hitting performance of conference play. Illinois' other senior middle blocker, Shelly O'Bryan, was equally as impressive as Argabright. O'Bryan tied her career-high with 16 kills and had just one error on 22 swings to tie her career high in attack percentage with a mark of .682. Together, the duo of Argabright and O'Bryan combined for 38 kills on .607 hitting.
Senior outside hitter Melissa Vandrey, fresh off her career performance of 30 kills in last night's win over Purdue, kept it rolling tonight against the Hoosiers. Vandrey belted 15 kills and hit .414 for the match while adding four blocks. Fellow outside hitter Rachel VanMeter was the fourth Illini to reach double digits in kills, finishing with 12.
Illinois is on the road next weekend, playing at Ohio State (8-10, 2-8) on Oct. 31 at 6 p.m. CT and at No. 20 Penn State (18-4, 7-3) on Nov. 1 at 7 p.m. CT.