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    Illinois volleyball match notes for Northwestern, No. 4 Nebraska
    Colleen Ward had 22 kills and hit over .580 vs. Michigan State.

    Colleen Ward had 22 kills and hit over .580 vs. Michigan State.

    Oct. 18, 2011

    2011 VB Week 9 Notes Get Acrobat Reader

    Illinois finishes first half of Big Ten

    Illinois travels to Northwestern on Wednesday and No. 4 Nebraska on Saturday to complete the first half of the Big Ten season. The Illini enter the week 19-0, 8-0 in the conference. Illinois has not finished the first half of the conference undefeated since 1988.

    First Halves of Big Ten season for Illinois

    1982 -- 3-4
    1983 -- 3-4
    1984 -- 3-4
    1985 -- 9-0
    1986 -- 9-0
    1987 -- 9-0
    1988 -- 9-0
    1989 -- 7-2
    1990 -- 6-3
    1991 -- 7-2
    1992 -- 9-1
    1993 -- 8-2
    1994 -- 7-3
    1995 -- 6-4
    1996 -- 3-7
    1997 -- 3-7
    1998 -- 8-2
    1999 -- 8-2
    2000 -- 2-8
    2001 -- 6-4
    2002 -- 3-7
    2003 -- 8-2
    2004 -- 6-4
    2005 -- 2-8
    2006 -- 4-6
    2007 -- 4-6
    2008 -- 7-3
    2009 -- 8-2
    2010 -- 9-1
    

    Huskers, Illini have played tight matches

    Illinois and Nebraska played a five-set match last year in Lincoln with the Huskers coming back from a 2-0 deficit to down the Illini 21-25, 21-25, 25-22, 25-14, 16-14.

    Illinois controlled the action in the first two stanzas, winning both sets 25-21. But with the Huskers leading 13-11 in the third set, the momentum shifted after Michelle Bartsch landed awkwardly following a block attempt at the net. The Illini's right side hitter was leading the team with 13 kills at the time, but missed the remainder of the match due to injury.

    • Illinois and Nebraska met in the spring of 2010 in front of a sold out crowd at the NU Coliseum for an exhibition contest. Brooke Delano had 16 kills to lead Nebraska to a five-set win (23-25, 25-22, 23-25, 25-18, 15-12). Bartsch had 25 kills and 12 digs for Illinois.

    • Nebraska leads the all-time series, 15-5-1 with the Illini prevailing twice during the NCAA Tournament, in 1987 and 1992. The teams have met just twice since 1994.

    Big Ten lead at stake in top-five matchup

    Illinois and Nebraska enter the week both undefeated in the Big Ten with identical 8-0 records. The Illini are 19-0 and ranked first in the nation. The Huskers (15-1), whose only loss came against Colorado State, enter the week ranked fourth.
    • The Illini are 1-6 in matches in which both teams are ranked in the top five. Illinois' only win in such a match came last year when the fifth-ranked Illini defeated No. 2 Texas, 3-0 in Austin. Illinois and Nebraska met twice with both teams ranked high. No. 4 Illinois downed No. 6 Nebraska 3-1 on Sept. 17, 1988 in Champaign and No. 6 Illinois defeated the No. 7 Huskers 3-0 in the 1992 NCAA Regional Semifinal at Huff Hall.

    Sellout crowd expected Saturday in Lincoln

    Another sellout crowd is expected Saturday night at NU Coliseum. The Huskers are ranked second in the nation in attendance, averaging 4,878 per match. Last year over 11,000 saw the Huskers and Illini battle at the Devaney Center.

    Illinois continue to be ranked No. 1, nation's final undefeated team

    On Sept. 26, Illinois reached No. 1 for the first time in school history. After winning six straight since then, the Illini remained in that spot in the AVCA Coaches poll. Illinois received 58 of a possible 60 first place votes.

    Illinois is one of four Big Ten teams in the top 12 and seven in the top 25. The other ranked conference teams include Nebraska, 4; Penn State, 9; Purdue, 12; Minnesota, 14; Michigan, 21; and Ohio State, 23. Another non-conference opponent, Tennessee, checks in at No. 20 while Dayton and Louisville are also receiving votes.

    On Oct. 1 in a match-up of the last two unbeaten teams in the nation, Illinois defeated Purdue in four sets to make the Illini the last unbeaten team in the country.

    Illinois-Northwestern Notes

    Northwestern enters Wednesday's match at 10-9 and 1-7 in the Big Ten. The Wildcats took Michigan to five sets before falling on Saturday and also lost in five sets at Penn State.
    • Illinois leads the all-time series 46-27. The Wildcats and Illini have split the last 12 meetings. Over the last four seasons, the Illini have lost just five matches at home, one came against the Northwestern.
    • Last year the team's split their two meetings with Illinois claiming a five-set victory in Champaign before falling in three sets at Northwestern. The Wildcats played near perfect volleyball in the win, hitting .375 with just one unforced error in the match.
    Colleen Ward posted 22 kills and 17 digs in the five-set victory in Champaign and hit .342 with 16 kills in the three-set defeat in Evanston.

    Saturday's match on BTN

    The-Illinois Nebraska match will be shown tape delayed at 8 pm on Monday on the Big Ten Network with Marney Gellner and Audrey Flaugh on the call
    • Both Illinois matches will be aired live on WDWS (AM-1400) with Dave Loane and Mike Koon on the call. Audio for both matches is available at fightingillini.com.

    Illinois against top-10 teams

    For the third-straight season, the Illini have defeated two top-10 opponents on the schedule. Illinois has six wins over top-10 teams in the last three years -- #6 Michigan and #6 Minnesota in 2009, #2 Texas and #2 Penn State in 2010 and #9 Minnesota and #8 Penn State this year. That equals the combined total of top-10 wins from the previous 16 seasons, as Illinois had six top-10 wins from 1993-2008.

    Ranked foes all over the schedule

    Illinois is 6-0 against ranked opponents so far this year. With seven Big Ten teams ranked in the top 25, the Illini are in the middle of a 10-week conference schedule in which the Illini will play at least one team currently ranked for nine straight weeks.

    Best starts in school history

    Illinois is 19-0 on the season, their second-best start in school history behind only the 30-0 beginning to the 1985 season. A look at the best undefeated beginnings:
    1985 -- 30-0
    2011 -- 19-0
    1995 -- 9-0
    1986 -- 8-0
    1997 -- 8-0

    Near record crowd see Illini top Boilers

    A crowd of 4,261 attended the Illini's match against Purdue and an additional 500 people were turned away at the door. The mark was the second largest crowd in Huff Hall history for volleyball. The record of 4,316 was set on Dec. 11, 1992 when the Illini fell to Stanford in the NCAA Regional Final. Huff Hall has undergone some renovations and that has meant a loss in seats in the north balcony. Were it not for that, it most certainly would have been the record.
    • Illinois has had five crowds of 3,000 or more during the last two years, including a sellout of 4,141 vs. Penn State on Sept. 24, 2010 and 3,108 in the Illini's win over Indiana on Sept. 30.
    • The largest home volleyball crowd in school history was 7,632 when the Illini defeated Minnesota in the Assembly Hall on Oct. 16, 2009.

    Illini creating quite a home court edge

    • The Illini rank eighth in the nation in home attendance at 2,505, despite having two conflicts with Illinois football. 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.
    • 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 is 9-0 at home in 2011 and 50-5 in front of the home crowd the past four years Two of the losses have come to No. 1 Penn State.
    • Not including 2011, in the years the Illini have qualified for the NCAA Tournament, they have a 244-46 home record (.841).

    >NCAA Attendance Leaders

    Team	Total	Dates	Avg.
    1	Hawaii	92,756	14	6,625
    2	Nebraska	39,024	8	4,878
    3	Minnesota	27,951	6	4,659
    4	Wisconsin	25,303	7	3,615
    5	Penn St.	31,811	9	3,535
    6	Florida	31,684	11	2,880
    7	Missouri	16,076	6	2,679
    8	Illinois	22,541	9	2,505
    9	Texas	19,844	8	2,481
    10	Purdue	23,865	10	2,387
    11	Iowa St.	16,567	7	2,367
    12	Washington	18,784	8	2,348
    13	Stanford	23,232	10	2,323
    14	Wichita St.	15,983	7	2,283
    15	New Mexico	17,614	8	2,202
    

    Illinois top all-time volleyball crowds

    		Opponent	Date
    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.	4,050	Ohio State	10/18/1991
    	4,050	Penn State	11/27/1992
    8.	4,021	Michigan St.	10/15/2011
    9.	3,513	Michigan St.	10/24/1992
    10.	3,497	Penn State	10/15/1993
    11.	3,419	Purdue	11/13/1992
    12.	3,386	Michigan	10/23/1992
    $NCAA Tourney; * At Assembly Hall
    

    Illinois ends another Penn State streak

    The five-set comeback win by Illinois over Penn State at Rec Hall in State College ended PSU's 68-match Big Ten home winning streak. The Illini also won in Happy Valley for the second time in 22 tries with the only other road victory coming in 1995. Last season, the Orange and Blue knocked off the Nittany Lions at Huff Hall in five sets, snapping Penn State's record 65-match Big Ten winning streak.

    Illini in the NCAA Rankings

    • Illinois has moved from 69th on Sept. 11 to 46th on Oct. 2 to 20th in the nation in blocks on Oct. 16. Currently the Illini average 2.65 blocks per set. The Illini are also 17th in hitting percentage (.263)
    Annie Luhrsen ranks 26th nationally in assists (11.09 per set) while Anna Dorn is 27th in blocks (1.30 per set).

    Bartsch moving up career charts

    Michelle Bartsch has moved into eighth on Illinois' all-time kills list with 1,383. Bartsch is also fifth in career attack attempts.

    Illinois career kills list

    1.	1,833	Laura DeBruler	2007-10
    2.	1,761	Mary Eggers	1985-88
    3.	1,707	Mary Coleman	1995-98
    4.	1,678	Rachel VanMeter	2002-05
    5.	1,669	Nancy Brookhart	1986-89
    6.	1,657	Tracey Marshall	1996-99
    7.	1,484	Bridget Boyle	1986-89
    8.	1,383	Michelle Bartsch	2008-11
    9.	1,245	Betsy Spicer	1997-00
    10.	1,228	Shadia Haddad	1998-01
    

    Illinois career attack attempts list

    1.	4,806	Laura DeBruler	2007-10
    2.	4,511	Rachel VanMeter	2002-05
    3.	4,374	Mary Coleman	1995-98
    4.	4,208	Tracey Marshall	1996-99
    5.	3,970	Michelle Bartsch	2008-11
    6.	3,480	Bridget Boyle	1986-89
    7.	3,417	Mary Eggers	1985-88
    8.	3,329	Nancy Brookhart	1986-89
    9.	3,297	Shadia Haddad	1998-01
    10.	3,055	Kylie McCulley	2006-09
    

    Ticket and Parking Info

    • Reserved and general admission tickets can be purchased in advance at the Athletic Ticket Office on the west side of the Assembly Hall or by calling 866-Illini-1 (to pick up your tickets at will call). Ticket prices are $7 for reserved, $5 for faculty/staff reserved, $4 for student/youth reserved, $5 for general admission, $4 for faculty/staff general admission and $2 for youth general admission while University of Illinois students are free at the door with a student ID. If general admission tickets remain, they can be purchased at the door.
    • The DIA will retain a certain number of tickets for use by Go Illini card patrons and U of I students based on averages for each category from prior 2011 home matches.
    • As of today, reserved tickets for the Penn State match are sold out and over 1,100 tickets have been sold overall. For the Wisconsin, Minnesota and Ohio State matches, just single tickets are available for the reserved sections while there are still plenty of general admission seats left.
    • Free parking is available after 5 p.m. at Lot E12 (east of Huff Hall), at the grass lot south of Huff Hall or at the Law Lot (corner of Fourth and Pennsylvania).

    Winning five-set matches

    Illinois is 6-0 in five-set matches this season. In the first two contests that went the distance, the Illini won after dropping the first two sets, defeating Dayton to win the State Farm Illini Classic and bettering Tulsa to take the Middle Tennessee Invitational. A week later, the Illini out-lasted Louisville, another team receiving votes in the poll, in five sets. Illinois also owns two five-set wins on the road during Big Ten play with victories over Minnesota and Penn State after losing the first set. Illinois took the first two sets from Michigan State, only to have battle to a fifth set to defeat the Spartans.
    • Last year Illinois played nine matches that went the distance, posting a 5-4 mark in those matches, winning five straight at one point.

    Dorn honored by Big Ten after tying block assist school record

    Anna Dorn was named Big Ten Defensive Player and Freshman of the Week on Oct. 10, earning her first career conference honors following stellar performances at Ohio State and Penn State. The Munster, Ind., native recorded 13 block assists against PSU, matching the school record held by Kellie Hebeisen and Johannah Bangert, who did it twice.

    Illinois single-match block assists list

    1.	13	Anna Dorn	10/8/11
    		Johannah Bangert	10/23/09
    		Johannah Bangert	10/9/09
    		Kellie Hebeisen	9/14/91
    5.	12	Johannah Bangert	8/30/08
    		Shelly O'Bryan	11/30/02
    		Paula Prentice	10/4/96
    

    Statistical Trends

    • Illinois has out-hit every opponent this year, but one -- Purdue. The Boilers led in that category .191-.168.
    • Only four opponents have hit .200 or better against the Illini -- Dayton (.284), Tulsa (.320), Louisville (.200) and Michigan State.
    • A total of five different players have led the Illini in blocks this season -- Erin Johnson, Anna Dorn, Michelle Bartsch, Collen Ward and Liz McMahon.
    • The Illini have only been aced 67 times this season (0.88 reception errors per set).
    • Illinois has hit over .350 in four matches this season, with the latest coming at Ohio State, which included the Illini's best single set percentage in the second frame at .633 with 19 kills and no errors.
    • Illinois has risen to 20th in the nation in blocks, having posting double digit blocks matches in six of the last nine matches, including 17 in back-to-back matches with Penn State and Michigan

    Big Ten honors Bartsch, Johnson

    Michelle Bartsch was named the Big Ten co-Player of the Week on Sept. 26, marking the second such honor this season for the senior from Maryville, Ill. Bartsch had a pair of double-doubles with 23 kills and 10 digs in a five-set victory at No. 9 Minnesota and 10 kills and 10 digs in a three-set triumph at Wisconsin. Bartsch shared the honor with Gina Mancuso of Nebraska.

    Junior middle blocker Erin Johnson was named the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week on Sept. 26. Johnson hit .435 with 11 kills and a career-high 10 blocks in the win over Minnesota and earns the honor for the first time in her career. Johnson ranks third in the conference in hitting percentage at .387, which is on pace to rank among the best in school history for a single season.

    Bartsch posts 20-20 performances

    Michelle Bartsch had a pair of 20-20 performances at the State Farm Illini Classic with 21 kills and 23 digs vs. Tennessee and 24 kills and 20 digs vs. No. 21 Dayton. Prior to that there were only two 20-20 matches by an Illini in past nine years, both coming in 2008 (Laura DeBruler and Kylie McCulley).
    • Bartsch is just the sixth Illini with multiple 20-20 matches, joining Erin Borske (four times), Mary Coleman (six), Petra Laverman (four), Tracey Marshall (six) and Kelly Scherr (two). Two others did so back-to-back nights (Laverman and Coleman).

    Bartsch earns third tournament MVP

    Michelle Bartsch earned MVP honors at the Big Ten/Big East Challenge. That marked her third MVP honor of the season, also claiming that distinction at the BYU/Nike Invitational and the State Farm Illini Classic. Bartsch had 22 kills and 20 digs combined in victories over Cincinnati and Louisville.

    Bartsch earns Big Ten Player of the Week, State Farm Illini Classic MVP Michelle Bartsch was named the Big Ten Player of the Week on Sept. 5 after earning MVP honors at the State Farm Illini Classic.

    Bartsch became just the third Illinois player with a 20-20 performance since 2002 and the first in three seasons when she tallied 21 kills and 23 digs in a four-set victory over Tennessee on Friday night. It didn't take her long to repeat the feat, with 24 kills and 20 digs the following night in a thrilling five-set comeback win over Dayton to help Illinois to its sixth straight State Farm Illini Classic title. Bartsch nearly made it three straight 20-20s with 19 kills and 16 digs in a four-set victory over Houston Saturday morning, despite being subbed for several rotations in the third set.

    Illini win State Farm Illini Classic

    • Illinois won its 21st State Farm Illini Classic in the 28-year history of the event. The Illini now have a 61-7 all-time record in the history of the tournament.
    • For the third time in the last eight years, the championship match against a ranked opponent went five sets and for the third time Illinois claimed the victory. Spotting 21st-ranked Dayton (4-2) a two-set advantage, the Illini stormed back for an 18-25, 20-25, 25-20, 25-23, 15-12 victory in a match that didn't end until nearly 11 pm.
    Erin Johnson and Colleen Ward joined Bartsch on the all-tournament team. Johnson hit .324 with 32 kills and 11 blocks for the tournament. Ward hit .241 with 49 kills, 42 digs and six blocks.

    Bartsch, Ward named to All-Tournament Team at BYU Invite

    Michelle Bartsch was named the MVP of the BYU/Nike Invitational. Bartsch and Ward each had 40 kills in three victories Bartsch had nine of her 13 blocks in the victory over St. Mary's and had 34 digs for the tournament. Ward added 32 digs in the 10 sets.

    Illinois returns two All-Americans

    Illinois brings back a pair of All-Americans from the 2010 season in seniors Michelle Bartsch and Colleen Ward. The duo also earned Preseason All-Big Ten accolades.

    Bartsch, who earns the honor for the third straight season, was a third team All-America choice in 2010 as well as earning first team All-Midwest Region and All-Big Ten accolades. She was MVP of the Time Warner Cable Invitational following Illinois' victory over then No. 3 Texas. Bartsch ranked seventh in kills per set (3.56) and ninth in points per set (4.11) in the Big Ten and recorded seven straight double digit kills matches to end the season.

    Ward was a second team All-America selection in 2010 and collected first team All-Big Ten and All-Midwest honors. She set Illinois' single-match ace record with nine vs. BYU and was named to three all-tournament teams. In the Big Ten, she ranked third in kills (3.99 per set) and points (4.50 per set) and tallied six matches with at least 20 kills, including 27 in the NCAA second round (4th most by an Illinois player in an NCAA match).

    Illinois picked second in the Big Ten

    Illinois, who has placed second in the Big Ten each of the past two seasons, is picked to finish in that spot again by the conference coaches. The Illini are tied for second with Nebraska in the coaches' preseason poll which ranks the top six teams in the league. Penn State is the favorite with Purdue, Minnesota and Michigan St. rounding out the top six in that order.

    Illini boast nation's third ranked recruiting class

    Illinois' 2011 four-person class is ranked No. 3 nationally by prepvolleyball.com, coming on the heels of the fifth-rated class in 2010. The members of the Class of 2007, who just completed their Illinois careers, were the sixth-best in the nation.

    Illinois is ranked behind only Texas and four-time defending national champion Penn State. The Illini went 1-1 against both teams a year ago. Rounding out the top 10 are Washington, UCLA, California, Wisconsin, Tennessee, Pepperdine and USC. The Big Ten has six total teams in the top 30 - Illinois (3), Wisconsin (7), Nebraska (13), Purdue (14), Ohio State (24) and Minnesota (30).

    Team loaded with Top 60 talent

    The Illini have 11 players on the roster who were top 60 products in their respective classes. Liz McMahon, the No 3 player inteh class is the highest ranked recruit in school history. McMahon (No. 3 in the class), Jocelynn Birks (26), Morganne Criswell (33) and Ali Stark (53) joins middle blocker Anna Dorn (6), outside hitter Colleen Ward (7), outside hitter Michelle Bartsch (16), outside hitter Jazmine Orozco (33), outside hitter Jessica Jendryk (45), middle blocker Erin Johnson (57) and libero Jennifer Bonilla (60) as top 60 players.

    Other season notes

    • Sophomore Jazmine Orozco, who missed much of the spring with a concussion, was valuable in a utility role at the BYU Tournament. Despite not starting, Orozco hit .714 with five kills and a block as a right side hitter vs. BYU. She played all four sets in reserve vs. UCSB, posting six kills and four blocks.
    • After having not played the entire match, Jazmine Orozco came into serve in the final two points of the match against Purdue.
    • Illinois' height advantage shown vs. St. Mary's as the Illini out-blocked the Gaels, 16-3.5. Bartsch led the way with nine blocks while freshman Anna Dorn added six. Overall, the Illini out-blocked their opponents 31-17.5 at the BYU Tournament.

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