Women's Volleyball
Illini to Host No. 12 Minnesota, Wisconsin in Big Ten Opener

Redshirt sophomore Anna Dorn ranks 11th in the nation with a .451 hitting percentage
Redshirt sophomore Anna Dorn ranks 11th in the nation with a .451 hitting percentage

Sept. 19, 2012

Complete Match Notes (PDF)

Friday, Sept. 21 • No. 12 Minnesota at No. 20 Illinois • Huff Hall • 7 p.m.
TV: Big Ten Network • Mike Wolf and Audrey Flaugh
Radio: Illini Radio Network • Dave Loane and Mike Trame
          WDWS AM 1400 in Champaign • Online
LiveStats: Presented by GameTracker

Sunday, Sept. 23 • Wisconsin at No. 20 Illinois • Huff Hall • 1 p.m.
Video: BTN.com (Student U) • Max Tane and Kyle Breitbarth
Radio: Illini Radio Network • Dave Loane and Mike Trame
          WDWS AM 1400 in Champaign • Online
LiveStats: Presented by GameTracker

The Last Meeting
#15 Minnesota3
October 29, 2011
#3 Illinois Falls to #15 Minnesota 3-0
No. 3 Illinois dropped its first home contest of the season, falling 3-0 to No. 15 Minnesota on Saturday night at Huff Hall. Box Score | Photo Gallery |

The Last Meeting
October 28, 2011
#3 Illini Dig In To Lend Support, Down Badgers
Fitting that in a night dubbed "Dig Pink" for breast cancer awareness, third-ranked Illinois out-dug the second-leading digs team in the Big Ten. The Illini moved to 21-1 overall and 10-1 in the Big Ten after posting a four-set 25-21, 20-25, 25-17, 25-20 victory over Wisconsin (13-10, 5-6).

The Golden Gophers began the season 5-0, before travelling to Austin, Texas on Sept. 6-7. Minnesota defeated then-No. 4 Texas, 3-1 in the first match, but fell, 1-3, the following day. After wins over North Dakota and No. 20 Dayton, the Golden Gophers took their second loss of the season to No. 19 Kansas State before closing out the non-conference slate with a 3-0 victory over Tulsa.

Minnesota's offense is led by Katherine Harms, Tori Dixon and Ashley Wittman. Harms leads the team with 164 kills, hitting .400, Dixon is attacking at a .490 clip with 126 kills, and Wittman is hitting .298 with 110 kills. Dixon also leads the team with 38 blocks, including eight solo, and Harms and Dana Knudsen both have 32. Daly Santana has 24 service aces, and setters Alexandra Palmer and Mia Tabberson have 259 and 229 assists, respectively.

As a team, the Golden Gophers lead the NCAA in hitting percentage (.343) and rank fourth in the nation in assists (14.18/set) and fifth in kills (14.92/set). Individually, Dixon ranks second in the nation in hitting percentange (.490) and Santana is second-best in the NCAA in aces (0.63/set).

Minnesota's Match Notes (PDF)

The Badgers are off to a hot start, winning 12 of their 13 non-conference matches, with their only loss coming to Creighton on Aug. 25. However, when the Badgers come to Huff Hall this weekend, Illinois will be Wisconsin's first ranked opponent of the season.

Wisconsin's front row is manned by Alexis Mitchell (123k, 48b), Julie Mikaelson (117k, 29b), Ellen Chapman (115k, 24b) and Mary Ording (69k, 58b). Sophomore Courtney Thomas has 443 assists on the season, adding 103 digs, and  junior Annemarie Hickey leads the back row with 209 digs. The Badgers' blocking unit ranks 18th in the nation, averaging 2.86 per set, and Mitchell is 24th in the country with a .408 hitting percentage.

Wisconsin's Match Notes (PDF)

The Illini are 38-28-1 all time against Minnesota and 43-40-1 against Wisconsin. Illinois split with the Golden Gophers last season, winning, 3-2, in Minnesota on Sept. 23, but falling 3-0 at home on Oct. 29. The loss was the Illini's only 3-set defeat of the season. Illinois has won the last eight straight matches against Wisconsin, having not lost to the Badgers since Nov. 7, 2007.

The Orange and Blue flew to Austin, Texas, last weekend to participate in the Time Warner Cable Texas Invitational. The Illini had a fantastic weekend, sweeping the tournament with hard-fought wins over No. 6 Texas, UCF and Cincinnati. After dropping the first set, 18-25, the Illini stormed back to take the second and third sets from No. 6 Texas, and after losing the fourth, Illinois won the fifth, 15-13, to capture the 100th victory over a ranked team in school history. The Illini then cruised to a 3-0 victory over the Knights, before eking out a tough, 3-1, win over the Bearcats. Birks was named MVP of the tournament after leading all teams with 60 kills and recording a double-double in all three matches, and Anna Dorn and Erin Johnson were both selected to the all-tournament team.


Minnesota (Sept. 21):

  • "Block"/"Ace" fans will be handed out to the first 500 fans
  • Pink Jersey silent auction begins
  • First Presbyterian Church will be in attendance
  • Team autograph session following the match

Wisconsin (Sept. 23):

  • Team day - 18 schools already registered
  • Camper Reunion Day - Nearly 200 fans already registered
  • Football ticket redemption - Free admission with your ticket stub from Saturday's football game
  • Pink Jersey silent auction concludes after intermission, winners announced following the match
  • Decatur Scovill Zoo will provide a petting zoo for fans of all ages, beginning at noon
  • Team autograph session following the match