Women's Volleyball
Stuff Huff, Banner Raising Friday Night

Complete Week 2 NotesGet Acrobat Reader

Week 2: Fighting Illini Classic

Schedule (Central Time):
8-31 #19 Illinois vs. #15 Iowa St. 7 p.m.
9-1 #19 Illinois vs. #15 Iowa St., 4:30 p.m.
Site: Huff Hall (4,050), Champaign, Ill.
Tickets: Available at 1-866-Illini-1,in person at Illini Ticket Office or at the door.
Series: Illini lead, 2-0 (last meeting 1982)
Radio: Illini Sports Network (Dave Loane and Mike Trame). Both matches on WDWS (AM 1400) in Champaign. Saturday's match also on WSOY (AM 1340) in Decatur and WFMB (AM 1450) in Springfield.
Live Stats: Friday ; Saturday
Live Audio: Friday ; Saturday
Live Video: Friday ; Saturday


Illinois hosts its annual Stuff Huff match this Friday in the home opener against Iowa State. Once again there will be food offered to the first 2,000 students at the Huff Hall parking lot for that match. It will also include an appearance by the men's basketball team.

Illinois is undefeated in Stuff Huff matches since its inception in 2006. Illinois has drawn over 2,000 fans for the event each of the past six years, including a crowd of 3,129, the largest in 14 years, in a four-set victory over Illinois State in 2006. That year, over 1,600 University of Illinois students packed Huff to add to the tremendous atmosphere. Last year a crowd of 2,619 saw Illinois defeat Tennessee.
• This year marks the first time that the Illini have played a ranked team for the "Stuff Huff" match.

Stuff Huff History
2006 Illinois 3, Illinois State 1 (att. 3,129)
2007 Illinois 3, Marquette 0 (att. 2,287)
2008 Illinois 3, North Carolina 0 (att. 1,989)
2009 No. 14 Illinois 3, Cincinnati 0 (att. 2,291)
2010 No. 6 Illinois 3, BYU 1 (att. 2,688)
2011 No. 7 Illinois 3, Tennessee 1 (att. 2,619)

Banner Raising Ceremony Friday

Illinois had its best season in school history in 2011, reaching the NCAA championship match for the first time in school history. The Illini topped No. 1 ranked USC in five sets in the national semifinal match before falling in four sets to UCLA in the championship match.

Huff Hall will be spruced up this fall, which will include the NCAA runner-up banner. The Illini will officially unveil the banner prior to the starting line-ups on Friday. The first 2,000 fans will receive a commerative keepsake honoring the 2011 Illini.

• The Sept. 1 match will be Chinese-American Unity night with a special intermission performance by the Chinese martial arts group WuShu. The first 250 kids eighth-grade and under receive a folder for back to school.


Anna Dorn was named to the all-tournament at the season-opening Dayton Flyer Classic. Dorn led the Illini with a .375 attack percentage to go along with 18 kills and nine block assists. The Munster, Ind., native led the Illini with six blocks vs. Pepperdine.


This is the first time since 1994 that Illinois has played the same opponent on back-to-back nights. Illinois faced Georgia Tech as part of the Illini Classic on Sept. 10 that year and played the Yellowjackets in another match the following day. The Illini won those matches 3-0 and 3-1, respectively.
• Illinois faced Illinois State in back-to-back matches to open the 1996 season, but two days apart. The Redbirds defeated the Illini in four sets in Normal on Aug. 31 with Illinois prevailing two days later in Champaign in four sets.


Although Illinois and Iowa State haven't met in 30 years during the regular season, the two schools have played the last several seasons during the spring, meeting halfway in the Quad Cities.
• It is fitting that a team with the nickname of the Cyclones comes to town the same times as remnants of Hurricane Isaac are expected to move through the area.

Birks off to hot start

Freshman Jocelynn Birks redshirted last season and thus had to wait a whole year to debut in an Illinois uniform. She had a very positive first weekend, leading the Illini in kills with 44 to go along with 14 digs and three blocks.
• Birks had eight kills in the opening set against Ohio, the lone Illinois win of the weekend. Down 23-21 in that set, Illinois rallied to score the final four points to win it. Birks served the final three points, including a crucial ace.
• Fellow redshirt freshman Ali Stark suffered an ankle sprain in the opener against Dayton and did not play the rest of the weekend. She is expected to return this weekend.

Illini has quite a home court edge

• The Illini ranked 10th in the nation in home attendance at 2,475 in 2011. The Illini had their second biggest crowd in Huff History with 4,261 vs. Purdue on Oct. 1, a night after drawing 3,108 vs. Indiana.
• A crowd of 4,021 saw Illinois defeat Michigan State. That marked the first time since 1992 that the Illini have had two crowds of 4,000-plus in the same season. Capacity crowd at Huff is listed at 4,050.
• Illinois was 16-1 at home in 2011 and 57-6 in front of the home crowd the past four years. Two of the losses have come to No. 1 Penn State.
• In the years the Illini have qualified for the NCAA Tournament, they have a 258-47 home record (.846).
• Illinois is 22-3 all-time at home during the NCAA Tournament.


• Illinois has 23 All-America honors among 14 players in school history. Of those, 11 (among six players have come with Kevin Hambly on staff. Three of the five first-team All-Americans have come under Hambly (Laura DeBruler, Colleen Ward, Michelle Bartsch


Jennifer Beltran enters the season ranked fifth in career digs in school history with 1,240, on pace to become the all-time leader in that department. She owns the top two single-season digs marks in school history.


• Illinois and Iowa State come into this weekend after similar starts to the season. Both teams lost to a pair of ranked teams. Iowa State fell to No. 12 Florida State and No. 15 Tennessee. Illinois lost to No. 11 Pepperdine and Dayton, who was receiving votes and move into 11th in this week's poll. Both teams defeated an unranked team from the state of Ohio, the Illini downed the Ohio University Bobcats and Iowa State defeated Cincinnati.
• Nebraska moves to the top spot this week after knocking off previous No. 1 UCLA. Five Illinois opponents are in the top 11, including three in the top four -- Nebraska (1), Texas (2), Penn State (4), Purdue (7) and Dayton (11). Other opponents ranked include Pepperdine, who fell to No. 13, Minnesota (16) and Michigan (22). Ohio State, Louisville and Michigan State are also receiving votes.
• The Big Ten and Pac-12 tie for the most ranked teams with six apiece.

Notes on the Illini Schedule

Illinois plays 21 of its 30 matches against teams that made the 2011 NCAA Tournament. The Illini meet 13 different teams (eight of them twice) that made the tournament. Of those, 12 advanced to the second round, eight reached the Sweet 16 and three joined Illinois in the Elite Eight. In total, the Illini play 14 matches against Sweet 16 teams. The schedule also features 13 matches against teams who finished in the final AVCA Coaches poll, including eight against top-10 teams. Those ranked opponents are Texas (4), Pepperdine (6), Iowa State (8), Penn State (9), Purdue (10), Nebraska (12), Minnesota (15), Michigan (20) and Ohio State (23). Dayton, Michigan State and Cincinnati also received votes.

The non-conference slate includes four matches against Elite Eight teams, one on the road, and a trip to one of the toughest home courts in the country, the University of Dayton, where the Illini participated in the Flyer Classic


• Illinois junior Jennifer Beltran and sophomore Liz McMahon have selected preseason All-Big Ten by the conference coaches. Both Beltran and McMahon or former members of the All-Big Ten Freshman Team, but this is the first All-Big Ten honor for both.

Additionally the conference coaches ranked the top six teams in the league and Illinois checked at No. 5. Defending conference champion Nebraska is the pick to repeat followed by Penn State, Purdue, Minnesota, Illinois and Ohio State.

A two-year starter at libero, Beltran ranks fifth on the Illinois career digs list with 1,240 having posted the top single-single digs marks for the program in the last seasons (623 in 2010 and 571 in 2011). She had 32 digs vs. USC in the national semifinal match

The 6-6 McMahon made a splash as a freshman, starting on the right side. She was named to the all-tournament team at the Big Ten/East Challenge. She hit .545 with 13 kills in a win at No. 23 Michigan and hit .407 with 14 kills combined in the first two rounds of the NCAA Tournament.


Illinois has a 57-6 record at Huff Hall over the past four seasons and the seventh-ranked Illini open the 2012 home schedule on Friday, Aug. 31 against No. 10 Iowa State. That night will include two feature events, the annual Stuff Huff promotion and the raising of the national runner-up banner. Fans who attend the match will also receive an NCAA Tournament keepsake.

Once again there will be food offered to the first 2,000 students at the Huff Hall parking lot for that match. It will also include an appearance by the men's basketball team.

Stuff Huff is one of several promotions on the volleyball calendar this year. The Sept. 1 match against Iowa State will be Chinese-American Unity night with a special intermission performance by the Chinese martial arts group WuShu. The first 250 kids eighth-grade and under receive a folder for back to school. The Sept. 21 match with Minnesota is Community Church Youth Group Night. All registered youth groups will have the opportunity to meet with the University of Illinois Campus Crusade for Christ organization who will host a discussion prior to the match about continuing your faith into college. Also on the night, the first 500 fans will receive an "Ace-Block" fan.

The Sept. 23 match with Wisconsin is Youth Day/Camper Reunion Day/Team Day. All 2012 summer campers who pre-register will receive free admission to the match. Organized youth volleyball teams may pre-register for free admission to the match as well. Prior to the match, the Decatur Scovill Zoo will provide a petting zoo for fans of all ages.

The Oct. 5 match against Ohio State is Breast Cancer Awareness Night. Fans are encouraged to wear pink to support those affected by breast cancer.

Men's volleyball shares the stage with the women on Sunday Oct. 21. Following the nationally-televised match against Nebraska, two of the top men's team in the nation square off as Lewis University meets Loyola (Chicago).

The Illini meet Purdue on Halloween night. Fans are encouraged to wear costumes to the match and participate in "spooktacular" events beforehand.

The Nov. 3 match against Indiana is Girl Scout Night. Whether or not they are scouts, girls eighth grade and below are invited to spend the night in the second annual lock-in following the match. Participants will enjoy dinner and activities, will sleep overnight at the University of Illinois facilities then wake up to an exclusive breakfast with the entire volleyball team.

Pending ticket availability, fans are once again able to use their ticket stub from the Illini football game for admittance to volleyball that night. Those are available for Sept. 1 (vs. Iowa State), Sept. 23 (vs. Wisconsin) and Nov. 17 ( vs. Michigan).

Pre-registration is required for the church youth group, camper reunion, team day and lock-in promotions. To register or for more information about any of our promotions or events, please contact Carrie Snyder in the marketing department at snyderc@illinois.edu or 217-333-6969.


Ali Stark had 21 kills and 14 digs and Liz McMahon had 16 kills and eight blocks to pace the white squad to a five-set victory over the orange squad Saturday night in front of 1,490 fans at Huff Hall. The final set scores were 25-21, 22-25, 23-25, 25-21, 15-12.

Stark led the white squad as the redshirt-freshman hit .250 in 48 swings on the night. Sophomore Jocelynn Birks also played well, recording 11 kills, four aces and three digs. As usual, Illinois played a defensive minded game with several long rallies. The Illini had 159 digs on the night, paced by junior libero Jennifer Beltran's29 digs.

The Illini were also eager to see how the Illinois freshmen would respond, as they were led by Kathryn Polkoff's five kills while Alexis Viliunas added 23 digs.