Aug. 22, 2007
Champaign, Ill. -
The Fighting Illini kick off the 2007 season at the Dayton Flyer Classic.
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The tournament includes Bowling Green, IPFW and the host Flyers. The full schedule (all times CST):
8/24, 3:30 p.m. -- Illinois vs. BG
8/24, 6 p.m. -- Dayton vs. IPFW
8/25, 10 a.m. -- Dayton vs. BG
8/25, Noon -- Illinois vs. IPFW
8/25, 4 p.m. -- BG vs. IPFW
8/25, 6:30 p.m. -- Illinois vs. Dayton
Illinois is playing Bowling Green and IPFW for the first time.
Illinois is 2-2 all-time vs. Dayton. The Illini and the Flyers met for the first time since 1979 last year at Huff Hall. The Illini won the match 30-21, 30-19, 23-30, 31-29. Vicki Brown hit .438 and had 21 kills for the Illini, who ended the non-conference season at 9-1. Brown was 10-for-10 in kill opportunities in the first two games.
Dayton is coming off a 22-11 season in which it won the Atlantic 10 Championship, but fell to Saint Louis, 3-1 in the Atlantic 10 tournament title game. The Flyers lose just one starter -- A-10 Player of the Year Faye Barhorst.
IPFW was 26-10 overall a year ago and returns 5 of 7 starters this season. The Mastadons are the pre-season favorites in the Summit League, playing in the conference for the first time.
Bowling Green was 26-6 and placed second in the Mid-America Conference Eastern Division.
Illinois won its first two tournaments a year ago and went 9-1 in the non-conference season.
Non-conference records the last five seasons:
Vicki Brown named Pre-season All-Big Ten: Illinois senior Vicki Brown has been named First Team All-Big Ten by the coaches.
Brown was an Honorable Mention All-Big Ten Selection last season after ranking second on the Illini with 352 kills and leading the club with a .324 attack percentage.
Brown displayed her powerful swings at the State Farm Illini Classic where she earned Tournament MVP honors after posting 45 kills, nine blocks and hitting .413. She earned MVP honors at the Marquette Kickoff Tournament after hitting a robust .514 on the weekend. She was also named all-tourney at the UNC Volleyball Classic in Chapel Hill, N.C.
Brown had double figures in kills in 21 matches, including a career-best 24 kills vs. Wichita State on Sept. 9. She also hit a career-best .667 with 18 kills vs. Ole Miss on Sept. 1 and finished the year ninth in Big Ten in hitting percentage. Brown added a team-best 111 blocks to along with her 362 kills and 78 digs.
Big Ten Pre-season All-Big Ten Team
Vicki Brown, ILL Sr. MB
Katie Bruzdzinski, MICH Sr. OH
Katie Johnson, MSU Sr. OH
Jessy Jones, MINN Sr. MB
Danielle Meyer, OSU Sr. MB
Nicole Fawcett, PSU Jr. OH
Christa Harmotto, PSU Jr. MB
Megan Hodge, PSU So. OH
Stephanie Lynch, Purdue Jr. MH
Brittney Dolgner, UW So. OH
Taylor Reineke, UW Sr. MB
Jackie Simpson, WU Sr. S
Illini down Alumni, 4-0
Vicki Brown had 18 kills and hit .850 as the Illini downed the Alumni 4-0 (30-20, 30-13, 30-23, 15-8). Brown finished with just one hitting error in 20 attempts. She added eight blocks, including four solo. Besides Brown's play, this is the first chance that the six Illini freshman had a chance to take to the Huff Hall court. They were impressive as well. The Illini backside block of Abby Nelson (7 block assists)and Nicole Kump (5 block assists) keyed a total of 14 team blocks.
HARDIN EYES 200, 400
Illinois head coach Don Hardin enters this season -- his 12th at Illinois -- with exactly 192 wins at both Louisville and Illinois for a grand total of 384. Hardin is thus approaching 200 wins at Illinois and 400 overall.
ILLINOIS RECRUITING CLASS RANKS 6TH NATIONALLY
The Illinois freshmen class is one of the most celebrated in recent memory. The group includes three of the top 50 and five of the top 100 players from last year's class according to prepvolleyball.com. The site lists Illinois' class as No. 6 in the nation.
10. Ohio State
11. Penn State
14. Colorado State
17. San Diego
18. Santa Clara
23. Cal Poly
Prepvolleyball.com listed the following Illinois freshman in their top 100 seniors last year:
23. Hillary Haen
30. Laura DeBruler
46. Johannah Bangert
78. Nicole Kump
97. Abby Nelson
ILLINOIS IN OPENERS
This is first time in five years that Illinois hasn't opened against Illinois State. The Illini won three of those four meetings with the Redbirds, including a 3-1 decision last year in Champaign.
Illinois is 9-2 in season openers under Head Coach Don Hardin
The Illini are 82-21 in non-conference play in 11 years under Don Hardin, including a 9-1 mark last year.
DAVID JOINS STAFF
Champaign Central graduate and former UW-Milwaukee star Melissa David has joined the staff as a volunteer assistant.
Ironically, last season David played against Illinois on the opening weekend, earning All-Tournament honors at the State Farm Illini Classic.
David was an All-Horizon League performer for a team that went 24-6 and won the Horizon League.
Friday, Sept. 7 "Stuff Huff"
Let's STUFF HUFF with over 3,000 fans! Last season the Fighting Illini attracted 3,129 fans for the Stuff Huff event becoming the largest Illinois home crowd since 1993. Be there when the Fighting Illini host Marquette for another great Stuff Huff crowd!
STUDENT BBQ - Free BBQ for U of I students from 5:30 - 6:45 pm or while supplies last outside of Huff Hall.
Friday, Oct. 19 Penn State Team Night / Next Generation Night
Area high school, middle school, and club volleyball teams are invited to attend the at a group rate. To receive the group rate, teams should RSVP by Monday, Oct. 15 by contacting Allison Berg at 217-244-0062 or firstname.lastname@example.org.