Women's Volleyball
Volleyball Match Notes for Big Ten-Big East Challenge

Liz McMahon had 20 kills vs. Louisville last year.
Liz McMahon had 20 kills vs. Louisville last year.
Week 3 Match NotesGet Acrobat Reader | Tournament Central | Friday Audio | Saturday Audio


This is the fourth straight year of the Big Ten/Big East Challenge, which has annually pitted Purdue and Illinois against Louisville and Cincinnati in the same weekend. Each school has taken turns in hosting the event.
• Ohio played in the first year of the challenge at Purdue because Cincinnati had already committed to play in the State Farm Illini Classic.
• Illinois has lost only once in the challenge, that coming in 2010, falling to Cincinnati. Louisville has yet to win a challenge match, but had a couple of close calls last year in five sets.
• En route to a 20-0 start last year, Illinois won six matches in five sets, including against Louisville, prevailing 25-20, 23-25, 25-20, 25-23, 15-9 in Champaign.
• Records: Illinois 5-1, Purdue, 5-1, Cincinnati 2-2, Ohio 0-2; Louisville 0-6
• Results (2009): Illinois def. Louisville, 3-0; Purdue def. Ohio, 3-0; Purdue def. Louisville, 3-0; Illinois def. Ohio, 3-0
• Results (2010): Cincinnati def. Illinois, 3-2; Purdue def. Louisville, 3-1; Cincnnati def. Purdue, 3-0; Illinois def. Louisville, 3-0
• Results (2011): Purdue vs. Louisville, 3-2, Illinois def. Cincinnati, 3-0; Purdue def. Cincinnati, 3-0; Illinois def. Louisville, 3-2

The Last Meeting
September 17, 2011
Illini Win Another Tight Battle
For the third straight weekend, No. 3 Illinois had to battle to post a five-set victory, but once again the Illini made the big plays when they had to in a 25-20, 23-25, 25-20, 21-25, 15-9 win over Louisville in the final match of the Big Ten/Big East Challenge.


In looking at this week's AVCA rankings, the Illini would play at least one ranked team in the first 13 weeks of the season. Illinois has already played No. 11 Pepperdine and No. 15 Iowa State in successive weeks and met Dayton, an unranked team at the time that is now up to No. 10 nationally. This week the streak continues thanks to Louisville entering the rankings at No. 24. The Cardinals are 6-1 after defeating No. 10 Kentucky a week ago. The only loss for the Big EAST favorites came to No. 3 Penn State.
• The Big Ten has six teams in the rankings with another two receiving votes. The conference has the top two teams in Nebraska and Penn State, respectively, followed by Purdue (11), Minnesota (14), Illinois (20) and Michigan (23). Illinois would play at least one of those teams each week during the Big Ten and travels to No. 4 Texas next week.
• Illinois defeated over No. 15 Iowa State on Aug. 31, marking the 12th straight season and 18th of the last 19 that the Illini have posted a win over a ranked opponent.


Illinois will once again meet former assistant Anne Kordes. The Louisville native played for former Illinois head coach Don Hardin at Louisville and joined Hardin as an assistant at Illinois from 1999-2003, helping the Illini to the 2003 Sweet 16. Kordes left Illinois to take the head job at Saint Louis, leaving a hole for Kevin Hambly to take the assistant spot in Champaign. Kordes has a 170-84 record as a head coach in seven seasons at SLU and one at Louisville. • Illinois is 3-0 all-time against Kordes, defeating Saint Louis in four sets in both 2008 and 2009 and Louisville in five sets last season. • Illinois is 9-3 all-time against Louisville, winning all three in the challenge.

The Last Meeting
September 16, 2011
Illini Tame Bearcats in Quick Fashion
No. 3 Illinois put forth its most complete match of the season, dominating from start to finish in a 25-16, 25-14, 25-12 victory over Cincinnati at the Big Ten/Big East Challenge Friday night at Huff Hall.


Like Illinois, Cincinnati has played three ranked opponents, falling to No. 10 Iowa State, No. 15 Tennessee, and No. 12 Florida State. The Bearcats are 1-6 after a four-set home loss to Western Kentucky on Tuesday.
• Illinois is 7-3 all-time against Cincinnati, winning six of the last seven match-ups. The Illini defeated Cincinnati in the second round of the 2008 and 2010 NCAA Tournaments. Illinois has never played a match at Cincinnati.


Illinois maintains its national ranking this week, checking in at No. 20 in the AVCA Top 25. The Illini have been ranked for 64 straight weeks dating back to after the first week of the 2008 season. The Illini were coming off wins over No. 23 New Mexico State and No. 11 Oregon the week before.


Freshman Jocelynn Birks redshirted last season and thus had to wait a whole year to debut in an Illinois uniform. She has had a very positive first two weekends, leading the Illini in kills with 68 to go along with 23 digs and six blocks.
• Birks had eight kills in the opening set against Ohio, the lone Illinois win of the first 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.
• Birks led Illinois with 13 kills while hitting .355 in a three-set victory over Iowa State on Aug. 31.
• Fellow redshirt freshman Ali Stark suffered an ankle sprain in the opener against Dayton and did not play the rest of the weekend. She returned against Iowa State, but played just back row.


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.


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.
• Illinois has made 20 NCAA Tournaments, 13 Sweet 16s and three Final Fours in school history.
• Illinois has made been a national seed in the NCAA Tournament four straight years. The Illini were the No. 9 seed in 2008, the No. 5 seed in 2009 No. 8 seed in 2010 and the No. 3 seed in 2011 (the highest by the Illini since national seeding began in 1998). Illinois has reached the Sweet 16 in 1985, `86, `87, `88, `89, `92, `95, `98, 2003, `08, `09, `10 and `11.


•Illinois plays 13 different teams (eight of them twice) that made the NCAA tournament. Of those, 12 advanced to the second round, eight reached the Sweet 16 and three were in the Elite Eight. In total, the Illini play 14 matches against Sweet 16 teams.
• The schedule features 15 matches against teams ranked in this week's top 25. Those ranked opponents are Nebraska (1), Penn State (2), Texas (4), Dayton (10), Purdue (11), Pepperdine (12), Minnesota (14), Iowa State (18), Michigan (23) and Louisville (23). Ohio State and Michigan State are receiving votes.


• Illinois played Iowa State on Aug. 31 in front of the best opening night crowd in school history, where 3,770 fans filled Huff Hall. The Illini drew 3,269 the following afternoon. Those were the ninth and 15th crowds, respectively, of all-time at Huff Hall.
• Illinois has sold about 1,250 (750 reserved and 250 general admission) season tickets.
• 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.
• Last year, 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 is 58-7 in front of the home crowd the past five 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 career digs list
1. 	1,921	Ashley Edinger	2006-09
2.	1,426	Tracey Marshall	1996-99
3.	1,393	Mary Coleman	1995-98
4.	1,346 	Lauren Harks	2001-04
5.	1,262	Jennifer Beltran	2010-
6.	1,172	Beth Vrdsky	2003-06
7.	1,133	Sandy Scholtens	1985-88
8.	1,117	Laura DeBruler	2007-10
9.	1,092	Mary Eggers	1985-88
10.	1,003	Petra Laverman	1988-90
Illinois single-season digs list
1.	623	Jennifer Beltran	2010
2.	571	Jennifer Beltran	2011
3.	564	Ashley Edinger	2007
4.	562	Ashley Edinger	1008
5.	520	Beth Vrdsky	2005
6.	488	Ashley Edinger	2006
7.	466	Michelle Bartsch	2011
8.	465	Tracey Marshall	1998
9.	396	Erin Borske	1995
10. 393	Lauren Harks	2003


• 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 three-year starter at libero, Beltran ranks fifth on the Illinois career digs list with 1,262 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.


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.