Hillary Haen played front and back row last weekend vs. Minnesota at Iowa.
Oct. 8, 2008
Things are shaping up much the same this year. Through four matches, Penn State and Minnesota have broken away at 4-0 then there are six teams at 2-2.
Illinois has a chance to break away from that pack with some success this weekend. The Illini meet Ohio State (10-6, 1-3) and no. 23 Michigan (14-2, 2-2) on the road.
Illinois has already played Penn State and Minnesota, the top teams in the league. Now the Illini have a chance to separate themselves from the pack. In the next five matches, Illinois plays the other three ranked Big Ten teams -- no. 21 Wisconsin on Oct. 19 and no. 18 Purdue on Oct. 22.
Last weekend was a monster one for DeBruler as she posted the first 20-20 performance by an Illini in six years with 24 kills on a career-high 80 swings to go along with 22 digs. The last Illinois player to accomplish that was Sue Webber, who had 22 kills and 26 digs vs. Minnesota on Oct. 12, 2002.
DeBruler followed that with 21 kills and 15 digs in a four-set victory over Iowa on Saturday.
DeBruler now has seven 20-kill matches this season, including a 31-kill performance vs. no. 11 Oregon. That gives her 22 20-kill matches for her career, which moves her to third place on the Illini's all-time list. Illinois career 20-kill matches
1. Rachel VanMeter (`01-'05) 29 2. Erin Borske (`94-'95) 28 3. Laura DeBruler (2007-08) 22 4. Tracey Marshall (`96-'99) 19 5. Mary Coleman (`95-'98) 18 6. Shadia Haddad (`98-'01) 16 7. Bridget Boyle (`86-'89) 13 Nancy Brookhart (`86-'89) 13 9. Betsy Spicer (`97-2000) 11 Petra Laverman (`88-'90) 11Illinois vs. ranked teams: Illinois has two victories this season over ranked opponents -- vs. no. 23 New Mexico State and no. 11 Oregon. The Illini have defeated a ranked team every year but one since 1985. The Illini have not beaten three ranked teams in the same season, however, since going 5-2 in 2003.
A look at the Buckeyes: Ohio State is 1-3 in the Big Ten and 10-6 overall. The Buckeyes are under first-year coach Geoff Carlston, who compiled a 193-64 record in eight years at Ohio University in building the Bobcats into a top-25 program. OSU defeated Northwestern in five sets last week. They are ranked third in the Big Ten in blocks paced by freshman Kelli Barhorst (1.32 bps), who ranks fifth in the Big Ten.
Ohio State leads the all-time series with Illinois 34-29, having won three in a row.
A look at the Wolverines: Michigan has been ranked in the Top 25 most of this season, having won all 12 of their non-conference matches. Head coach Mark Rosen is tied for the most wins in school history and could break that with a win over either no. 18 Purdue Friday or no. 19 Illinois Saturday.
After a stellar freshman season, setter Lexi Zimmerman is off to a fast start, ranking second in the Big Ten in assists at 11.27.
Illinois leads the all-time series 35-19, but the Wolverines have won 10 of the last 13, including both matches in 2007.
Illinois 10th in the RPI ratings The NCAA released its first RPI rankings on Thursday, Oct. 2. Illinois, whose strength of schedule is among the best in the country, is ranked 10th in the first RPI rankings of the year.
Illinois and the national rankings
After splitting matches with no. 13 Minnesota and Iowa last week, Illinois remained 19th in the latest CBS Sports Network/ AVCA Coaches poll. The Illini received 417 votes from the 60-member panel. They are in the rankings for the sixth straight week.
Illinois continues to be one of six Big Ten teams in the national rankings. Defending national champion Penn State is first followed by Minnesota at no. 12, Purdue (18), Illinois (19), Wisconsin (21) and Michigan (23).
The Big Ten is second to the Pac 10, who boasts seven teams, including six of the top 11 teams in the rankings.
Big Ten teams were a combined 103-26 (.798) during the non-conference. This included eight victories over ranked opponents -- Penn State over no. 12 Hawaii and no. 6 UCLA; Minnesota over no. 21 LSU and no. 16 Cal Poly; Wisconsin over no. 23 BYU; Purdue over no. 14 Kansas State; and Illinois over no. 11 Oregon and no. 23 New Mexico State.
In addition to the five other Big Ten teams in the national ranking, two other Illinois opponents are ranked -- no. 4 Stanford and no. 7 Oregon. Saint Louis is receiving votes.
Bangert and the record book
With 86 total blocks this year, Bangert is on pace for 178, which would be second most in school history in a season behind only Denise Fracaro's 225 in 1985 and just ahead of Mary Eggers' 177 in 1988.
Bangert's 12 blocks vs. New Mexico State are tied for the fourth most in a match in school history. Kellie Hebeisen holds the record with 15 vs. Georgia in 1991.
Bangert ranks sixth in the nation in blocks per set, one of three Big Ten athletes in the top six.
Bazzetta moves up Illinois assists charts
Lizzie Bazzetta began the season with 3,206 career assists -- 824 as a freshman, 1,241 as a sophomore, and 1,141 as a junior. With 296 assists so far this season, Bazzetta now needs 106 to move past Betsy Eiserman for fifth on the Illini career list and could become just the fourth Illinois player to top 4,000 for her career.
DeBruler chases 1,000 kills
With the team's success this season, sophomore Laura DeBruler has emerged as a potential All-American candidate. DeBruler had 31 kills in a five-set victory over no. 11 Oregon and 24 in a hard-fought victory at Illinois State.
At 4.41 kills per set, DeBruler ranks second in the Big Ten and 12th nationally in that category.
DeBruler now has 833 kills for her young career with a good chance to surpass the 1,000-mark this season. Illinois' all-time kills leader, Mary Eggers, had 906 in her first two seasons. Erin Borske holds the Illini record for kills in her two seasons with 1,192, but played just two years.
Last year, DeBruler led all freshmen nationally, while ranking 22nd overall in kills per set in 2007.
2008 NCAA Division I Kills Leaders Name Blocks Average 1 Yarimar Rosa, Florida Int'l 330 5.32 2 Erica Short, Indiana 282 4.86 3 Meagan Schoenrock, No. Ill. 272 4.86 4 Yun Yi Zhang, Temple 323 4.75 5 Angie Porché, Valparaiso 277 4.69 6 Jeanne Fairchild, New Mexico 238 4.67 7 Marcela Gurgel, South Fla. 317 4.59 8 Emily Day, Loyola Marymount 258 4.53 9 Mackenzie Angner, SDSU 226 4.52 10 Haley Larsen, Idaho 277 4.47 11 Hana Cutura, California 209 4.45 12 Laura DeBruler, Illinois 256 4.41 13 Julie Rubenstein, Pepperdine 215 4.39 14 Hayley Hills, Eastern Wash. 234 4.33 15 Ashley Adams, Samford 224 4.31
Edinger eyes career digs record
Ashley Edinger holds two of the top three digs seasons in Illinois history, including 564 last year. Edinger also topped 1,000 digs in just her 57th match of her career. Tracey Marshall, who is Illinois' all-time digs leader with 1,426, recorded her 1,000th career dig in her 80th match.
With 59 digs at the Tennessee Comcast Classic, Edinger moved past Beth Vrdsky into fourth on the all-time Illinois digs list and within striking distance of the record of 1,426 this year. She now has 1,317 within 29 of Lauren Harks for third.
She also had 35 digs vs Dayton, her sixth 30+digs match of her career.
Illinois career digs list 1. Tracey Marshall 1,426 2. Mary Coleman 1,393 3. Lauren Harks 1,346 4. Ashley Edinger 1,317 5. Beth Vrdsky 1,166 6. Sandy Scholtens 1,133 7. Mary Eggers 1,092 8. Petra Laverman 1,003 9. Kathleen Bazzetta 974 10. Shadia Haddad 962