Match Notes: Illinois to Face Michigan on Big Ten Network
Oct. 9, 2012
Wednesday, Oct. 10 No. 22 Illinois at Michigan Cliff Keen Arena 7 p.m. CT
ABOUT MICHIGAN (14-6, 2-4 Big Ten)
The Wolverines worked a solid non-conference slate, going 12-2 in early season tournaments. Their only losses came to Marquette and Western Kentucky, while the Wolverines defeated their only ranked preseason opponent with a 3-1 victory over then-No. 25 Northern Iowa. The Wolverines began the season ranked No. 23 in the AVCA Coaches Poll, but have since dropped out of the top 25. The rank 28th in the RPI. Michigan opened conference play 2-1, but has since dropped the last three straight, falling 3-1 to No. 4 Nebraska and No. 10 Minnesota and 3-0 to Wisconsin.
Junior outside hitter Lexi Erwin leads the Wolverines' attack with 284 kills and 20 aces, and ranks second in digs with 192. Classmate Jennifer Cross is the lone middle in the Big Ten with 100+ blocks, ranking second with an average of 1.36 blocks per set for a total of 103. She sits in second on the team in kills, with 189. 2011 Big Ten All-Freshman setter Lexi Dannemiller has 768 assists to go along with 166 digs, and freshman defensive specialist Tiffany Morales ranks fifth in the conference with 299 digs.
THE ILLINI VS. THE WOLVERINES
The Illini are 43-19 all time against the Wolverines and 17-12 in Ann Arbor. The Orange and Blue have won seven of the last eight contests, with Illinois' only loss to Michigan since 2008 coming in four sets on Oct, 9, 2010, at Cliff Keen Arena.
LAST TIME OUT
The Orange and Blue dropped a pair of heartbreakers last weekend, falling in five to No. 19 Ohio State and No. 1 Penn State. Illinois had a 2-0 lead over Ohio State, but the Buckeyes battled back to force a fifth set, and won the match with a 15-12 victory in the final frame. The Illini took the first set from top-ranked Penn State, and after the Nittany Lions won two and three, the Illini earned a 26-24 victory in the fourth to go to five for the third-straight night. Illinois led 14-10 in the final stanza, but the Nittany Lions proved why they're No. 1, coming from behind to win 18-16 and earn their first win at Huff since 2009.
Jennifer Beltran moved into second place all-time at Illinois in career digs, while Erin Johnson broke into the top 10 in career blocks. Redshirt freshman Jocelynn Birks had a dazzling performance against Penn State, notching 23 digs, 20 kills, five blocks and an ace to become just the fifth Illinois player to record a 20-20 in her first season as a letter winner.
BELTRAN MOVING UP DIGS CHARTS
In her first two seasons at Illinois, Jennifer Beltran recorded the top two single-season digs performances in school history, ranking her fifth all-time in career digs entering the season (1,194). On Sept. 15, Beltran passed Lauren Harks `04, and into fourth all time, when she recorded her first career double-double (11a, 18d) against Cincinnati. On Sept. 28, she vaulted over Mary Coleman '98 into third place, registering 12 digs at Indiana. One week later, on Oct. 5, Beltran passed Tracey Marshall '99 to move into second place, tabbing 25 digs against Ohio State. The junior libero has a ways to go before catching Ashley Edinger in the No. 1 spot (1,921), currently owning 1,453 career digs.
JOHNSON BREAKS INTO BLOCKING TOP TEN
Senior middle blocker Erin Johnson has become one of Illinois' best blockers in school history, tabbing 23 solo blocks and 387 assists for a total of 410 blocks. She currently ranks ninth in block assists, and broke into the top 10 against Penn State, with her 410th career block. She needs four block assists and six total blocks to move up in each respective category.
LUHRSEN EIGHTH ALL-TIME IN ASSISTS
In her second season as the Illini's starting setter, redshirt senior Annie Luhrsen ranks eighth all-time at the University of Illinois in career assists, with 2,338. She is one of just nine setters to reach the 2,000-mark at Illinois. The Wheaton, Ill., native registered an additional 1,165 assists her freshman year at UConn, bringing her combined career total to 3,503.