Women's Volleyball
Illini Close Nonconference Slate in North Carolina

Sophomore DS Julia Conard registered 32 digs at the Illini Classic.
Sophomore DS Julia Conard registered 32 digs at the Illini Classic.

 Sept. 20-21 - North Carolina/Duke
Match 9:
No. 15 North Carolina 
Friday, Sept. 20, 2013 | 6 p.m. CT | Carmichael Arena
Video (free) | Audio | Radio: WDWS 1400 AM | LiveStats
Match 10: Duke Saturday, Sept. 21, 2013 | 5:30 p.m. CT | Cameron Indoor Stadium
Video | Audio | Radio: WDWS 1400 AM | LiveStats
Match Notes Illinois 
Statistics North Carolina (9-0) | Duke (7-2)
Series History North Carolina: Illinois leads, 3-1. Last match: Illinois won 3-0 on 8/29/08.
Duke: Illinois leads, 1-0. Last match: Illinois won 3-0 on 10/12/89. 
Tickets Admission is FREE for both matches.
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The Fighting Illini are 3-1 all-time against the Tar Heels, with the most recent matchup coming in the Illini's 2008 season opener at the State Farm Illini Classic. The Illini swept UNC on opening night en route to claiming the Classic title. 

Illinois has visited Chapel Hill once, for the Glaxo Smith Kline UNC Volleyball Classic on Sept. 8-9, 2006. The Illini swept UNC, then fell 3-2 to Wichita State, before completing the weekend with a 3-1 win over the College of Charleston.

The Illini have only faced Duke once in the past 39 seasons, taking down the Blue Devils, 3-0, in Durham on Oct. 12, 1989. The Illini were ranked seventh at the time.

The Last Meeting
North Carolina0
August 29, 2008
Huff Hall
Illini leave Heels feeling Blue
After a season filled with five-set matches in 2007, Illinois doesn't mind an early convincing win in 2008, especially with two ranked opponents on the horizon Saturday. With a fired up student crowd, including members of the U of I basketball team, pushing every point, the Illini opened the season with a 25-21, 25-14, 25-12 victory over highly regarded North Carolina in the opening night of the 25th Annual State Farm Illini Classic.


North Carolina enters this weekend sitting at a perfect 9-0, having lost just three sets so far on the year. UNC is one of just 12 Division I teams to remain undefeated this far into the season. The Tar Heels' toughest weekend was the Bobcat Invitational on Sept. 6-7, when UNC defeated Dayton (3-0), Ohio (3-2) and Cincinnati (3-0). Dayton was ranked in the preseason poll and was receiving votes that week, while Ohio entered the poll this week at No. 24. 

Statistically, the Tar Heels top the charts in assists and kills, ranking fourth in the nation with 13.87 assists per set and 10th with 14.83 kills per set. Additionally, they rank 31st in blocks (2.70/s) and 36th in hitting percentage (.271).


Duke is 7-2 so far this season, with both if its losses coming to top-10 teams. The Blue Devils swept their home invitational this past weekend with wins over Liberty, Utah State and South Carolina, but have fallen to No. 9 Florida and No. 4 Minnesota, 3-0.

From a statistical standpoint, Duke ranks fourth in the NCAA in kills (15.29/s) and eighth in assists (13.79/set), along with 38th in hitting percentage (.267). Like Beltran, Duke senior Ali McCurdy is making a run at the Blue Devils' all-time digs record, ranking second in the nation among active players and second all-time at Duke with 2,067 career digs. Duke's all-time digs record was set by Jenny Shull in 2007 at 2,200.


It's been a long time coming, but Head Coach Kevin Hambly marked down his 100th career victory on Sept. 13, 2013, with a five-set victory over Arizona State. Hambly posted 82 wins through his first three seasons, but with such a challenging schedule in 2012, he had to wait another full season before finally crossing the three-digit plateau. Despite the implication that it took him a while, he is actually one of the fastest head coaches to ever reach the 100 mark, doing so in just 138 matches (.724). 

Hambly is Illinois' third head coach to reach this milestone. Mike Hebert also captured his 100th win during his fifth season back on Oct. 30, 1987, in his 133rd match at Illinois. Don Hardin reached the milestone on Nov. 14, 2001, in match #175 towards the end of his sixth season.


The Fighting Illini tied their program record last season with 71 consecutive weeks in the AVCA Top 25 before dropping out of the rankings mid-season after suffering eight heartbreaking 5-set losses. With a promising set of young players back for 2013, the Illini received votes in the 2013 AVCA Preseason Poll to head into opening weekend as the 29th-ranked team in country. However, it did not take long for the Illini to prove they deserve better, as victories over No. 18 Florida State and No. 17 Kentucky helped the Illini return to the AVCA Top 25 on Sept. 2, debuting at No. 18, their highest ranking since ranking No. 7 in the 2012 Preseason Poll. A victory over No. 11 Iowa State on Sept. 8 helped push the Illini even higher in the polls, moving up to No. 14 on Sept. 9. After a 1-2 weekend at home, Illinois comes in at No. 16 this week.


Over their first five matches of the season, the Illini led the Big Ten in blocks, averaging 3.13 per set. After a tough home tournament, the Illini dropped to fourth, now averaging 2.70, which ranks 32nd in the nation.

Illinois out-blocked its opponent in each of the first five matches, and has recorded five double-digit block matches, including two at 15+ (San Diego, Kentucky).

The front line is manned by redshirt freshman Maddie Mayers, who leads the Big Ten and ranks fifth in the nation by averaging 1.61 blocks per set. Mayers put together 20 blocks on opening weekend to lead to Big Ten Freshman of the Week honors, then added an additional 14 over two matches in Ames, Iowa, and 16 more at the Illini Classic.


• Illinois has another difficult schedule ahead. Based on this week's AVCA Coaches Poll, the Illini face six of the top 10 teams including all of the top 3: No. 1 Penn State (2), No. 2 San Diego (L, 1-3), No. 3 Washington (L, 1-3), No. 6 Texas (L, 2-3), No. 9 Minnesota, No. 10 Michigan (2). The No. 16 Illini meet all seven teams ranked between 12-19: #12 Nebraska (2), #13 Ohio State (2), #14 Michigan State (2), #15 North Carolina, #17 Florida State (W, 3-0), #18 Arizona State (W, 3-2), #19 Kentucky (W, 3-2). Moreover, No. 21 Purdue (2) and No. 25 Iowa State grace the Illini's schedule, along with Wisconsin, who dropped to #32 this week. (2) refers to teams that the Illini play twice.

• In total, the Orange and Blue face six top 10 teams, 13 top 20 teams, 15 ranked opponents, and have 21 (of 30) matches against teams that are ranked in this week's poll.

• Huff Hall will be the site of many great competitions, as five top-10 opponents will come to Champaign. The Illini opened the home season in style with visits by the teams now ranked #3 (then-No. 6 Washington), #6 (then-No. 2 Texas) and #18 (then-#27 Arizona State).

• The Illini have faced six ranked opponents thus far. The Illini defeated then-No. 18 Florida State and then-No. 17 Kentucky opening weekend, but fell 3-1 to the host LBSU, who was receiving votes. Illinois split with a pair of ranked foes the following weekend in Ames, falling to No. 14 San Diego, 3-1, but sweeping No. 11 Iowa State. The Orange and Blue defeated Arizona State, which was receiving votes and moved to No. 18 in the following poll, in their home opener, then dropped matches to No. 6 Washington and No. 2 Texas. The Illini are 3-3 against teams ranked at the time of the match with four wins over teams ranked in this week's poll.

• According to the final 2012 RPI, Illinois will face four of the top six (#2 Texas, #3 Penn State, #5 Nebraska, #6 Minnesota), with 12 opponents in the top 25. The lowest non-conference opponent on the schedule is #80 Duke, with Big Ten teams Indiana (107) and Iowa (136) sitting just outside the top 100. The first 2013 RPI is scheduled to come out on Oct. 7.

• 15 of Illinois' 21 opponents participated in the 2012 NCAA Tournament, including three of the Final Four teams (Texas, Penn State, Michigan).

• The Fighting Illini faced three 2012 conference champions in their non-conference slate: Texas (Big 12), Florida State (ACC) and San Diego (West Coast), going 1-2 against the pack.


In her first two seasons at Illinois, Jennifer Beltran recorded the top two single-season digs performances in school history. She followed with a 500-dig season in 2012, good for sixth all time. Beltran entered her final season in second place all-time with 1,694 career digs. With 135 digs so far in 2013, the libero needs just 98 more to pass Ashley Edinger '09 and become the Illini's all-time career digs leader. 

Illinois Career Digs
1. 1,921 Ashley Edinger 2006-09
2. 1,829 Jennifer Beltran 2010-
3. 1,426 Tracey Marshall 1996-09
4. 1,393 Mary Coleman 1995-98
5. 1,346 Lauren Harks 2001-04

Illinois Single-Season Digs
1. 623 Jennifer Beltran 2010
2. 571 Jennifer Beltran 2011
3. 564 Ashley Edinger 2007
4. 562 Ashley Edinger 2008
5. 520 Beth Vrdsky 2005
6. 500 Jennifer Beltran 2012

Additionally, Beltran is sixth in the nation among active players and the active Big Ten leader, ranking 14th all time in conference history. With 500 digs in 2013, a figure she's met in each of her first three seasons, Beltran can finish second all time in the Big Ten record books.

Big Ten Career Digs
1. 2,791 Paula Gentil, MINN 2000-05
2. 2,194 Kate Nobilio, NU 2006-09
3. 2,182 Jocelyn Wack, WIS 2004-07
4. 2,178 Stesha Selsky, MICH 2004-07
5. 2,013 Kelli Miller, PUR 2005-08
6. 1,957 Kaleena Walters, PSU 2002-05
7. 1,931 Janet Moylan, IOWA 1987-90
8. 1,929 Emily Hiza, IOWA 2005-08
9. 1,927 Christine Tan, MINN 2006-09
10. 1,921 Ashley Edinger, ILL 2006-09
11. 1,920 Susan Wohfford, WIS 1988-91
12. 1,918 Sloane Donhoff, MICH 2008-11
13. 1,885 Caitlin Cox, IND 2008-11
14. 1,829 Jennifer Beltran 2010-

Active NCAA Career Digs (as of Sept. 16)
1. 2,109 Lena Oliver, Western Mich. 2010-
2. 2,069 Ali McCurdy, Duke 2010-
3. 1,876 Alyssa Maren, Seton Hall 2010-
4. 1,859 Katie Klages, Evansville 2010-
5. 1,851 Natalie Hugglund, USC 2010
6. 1,829 Jennifer Beltran 2010-
11. 1,715 Beth Yeager, IOWA 2010-
27. 1,519 Julianna Mandolfo, OSU* 2010-

*First two seasons at Creighton


• Illinois played Iowa State on Aug. 31, 2012 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 10th- and 16th-best crowds, respectively, of all-time at Huff Hall.

• At the 2013 Illini Classic, the Illini averaged 2,613 fans, with a total of 3,538 fans attending the "Stuff Huff" match vs. No. 6 Washington. That mark sits just behind the 2012 "Stuff Huff" match in 11th all-time at Huff Hall.

Illinois' top all-time volleyball crowds (4,000+)
1. 7,632 Minnesota* 10/16/2009
2. 4,316 Stanford$ 12/11/1992
3. 4,261 Purdue 10/1/2011
4. 4,211 Ohio State$ 12/3/1992
5. 4,141 Penn State 9/24/2010
6. 4,123 Nebraska$ 12/10/1992
7. 4,050 Ohio State 10/18/1991
4,050 Penn State 11/27/1992
9. 4,021 Michigan St. 10/15/2011
$ NCAA Tourney; *State Farm Center

• The Illini drew a total of 33,713 fans over 12 home matches in 2012, for an average of 2,809 per match, which is second only to the 1992 season, when the Illini set a then-NCAA record for season attendance. The Orange and Blue hosted the NCAA Regional that season, which featured three of the all-time top-five crowds at Huff.

Illinois' top all-time yearly attendance (by average)
Total (Average) Year Record
1. 52,666 (3,098) 1992 16-1
2. 33,713 (2,809) 2012 5-7
3. 34,539 (2,657) 1993 11-3
4. 42,068 (2,475) 2011 16-1
5. 31,381 (2,414) 1996 8-5
6. 32,856 (2,347) 1995 10-4
7. 31,391 (2,242) 1991 13-1
8. 33,279 (2,108) 1988 16-0
9. 29,480 (2,106) 2009 14-1

• Illinois played in front of over 2,000 fans in 21 of the 30 matches in 2012, including all 12 home matches. The Illini dazzled 3,000+ fans on seven occasions, five at home, and played in front of a crowd of 5,121 at Minnesota on Oct. 28.

2012 NCAA Attendance Leaders
Rk Team Total Dates Avg.
1. Hawaii 113,080 17 6,652
2. Nebraska 60,689 14 4,335
3. Minnesota 39,792 12 3,316
4. Penn State 42,606 13 3,277
5. Wisconsin 31,484 10 3,148
6. UNI 29,397 10 2,940
7. Wichita State 29,086 10 2,909
8. Purdue 48,566 17 2,857
9. Illinois 33,713 12 2,809
10. Texas 52,850 20 642

• The Illini ranked ninth in the nation in home attendance in 2012, with an average of 2,809 fans per match.

• Six of the top 10 teams attendance-wise in 2012 were members of the Big Ten in Nebraska (2), Minnesota (3), Penn State (4), Wisconsin (5), Purdue (8) and Illinois (9).


The NCAA has selected Illinois to be one of four Regional hosts for the 2013 NCAA Tournament. Illinois will host three matches on Dec. 13-14 at the State Farm Center. All-session tickets are now available by calling the Illinois Ticket Office at 1-866-ILLINI-1. Single Session tickets will go on sale the week of the event after teams have qualified for the regional.