The Illini are 7-9 all-time on ESPN/ESPN2, inlcluding defeating No. 1 USC on ESPN2 in the 2011 NCAA Semifinals.
Oct. 18, 2012
No. 25 Illinois (10-9, 4-5 Big Ten) vs. No. 4 Nebraska Huskers (16-2, 8-1 Big Ten)
Sunday, Oct. 21 • 2 p.m. • Huff Hall • ESPN2 • WDWS
The Huskers ride an eight-match winning streak into today's match, not having lost since their Big Ten opener at Penn State (1-3). As a team, Nebraska sits in the top three in the conference in five of the seven major stat categories, ranking second in blocks (2.87) and third in hitting percentage (.309), opponent hitting percentage (.182), assists (13.38) and kills (14.41). They also sit in fifth in the nation in hitting efficiency, 15th in kills and 19th in blocks.
All of Nebraska's hitters have an efficiency above .250, with Meghan Haggerty hitting .401 with 116 kills to go along with 60 blocks, including 11 solo. Gina Mancuso leads the team with 220 kills and 23 aces, and Hannah Werth has 193 kills and a team-high 204 digs. Hayley Thramer leads the team with 74 blocks, hitting .340 with 116 kills, and Lauren Cook ranks third in the Big Ten with 722 assists.
ILLINI vs. THE HUSKERS
The Illini are 5-16-1 all-time against the Huskers, going 0-1 since Nebraska joined the Big Ten last season. Illinois is 3-2 against the Huskers in Champaign-Urbana, but host Nebraksa in Huff for the first time since 1994. Nebraska is one of just nine teams to have faced the Illini more than five times and earn a record above .500 (Central Michigan 4-3, Hawaii 8-1, Illinois-Chicago 9-3, Illinois State 29-27, LSU 4-3, Ohio State 37-35, Penn State 38-9, UCLA 10-0).
LAST TIME OUT
The Orange and Blue won their second-consecutive five-set match on Wednesday night, defeating Northwestern, 3-2. It marked the ninth time this season that the Illini have gone to five, while it was just the first 5-set match of the year for the Wildcats. NU took the first set, before Illinois went up 2-1 wtih a 25-14 victory in the third. The WIldcats battled back in the fourth, winning 25-17, but the Illini dominated in the fifth, earning a 15-9 victory to claim the match.
Three Illini freshman registered double-doubles, led by new setter Alexis Viliunas with 49 assists, 14 digs, four blocks and two aces. Liz McMahon had a dominating night at the net, hitting .324 with 18 kills and five block assists, and Jocelynn Birks put up a career-high three aces wtih 14 kills and 10 digs. The service line was the difference-maker in the match, as Illinois had a season-best eight aces and just five errors, while the Wildcats had a season-worst 14 errors and just four aces.
ON THE BIG SCREEN
The Illini have appeared on local, regional and national television 144 times since 1988, compiling a 84-60 (.583) overall record. Nationally, Illinois is 33-27, including 7-9 on ESPN/ESPN2 and 10-12 on the Big Ten Network. The Illini are 1-3 on television this season, defeating Texas on the Longhorn Network, bute losing to Minnesota, Purdue and Michigan on BTN.
CHANGING THE SET
After the Illini fell into an uncommon four-match losing streak, Coach Hambly made a personnel change, starting freshman Alexis Viliunas over senior Annie Luhrsen at setter. Viliunas was on track to redshirt the season and take over setting duties next year, but in an effort to snap the skid and get the team where it needs to be, Viliunas entered the starting lineup on Oct. 13 at Michigan State.
Viliunas dazzled in her debut, keeping a calm sense of poise to lead the Illini all the way back from an 0-2 deficit to defeat the Spartans in five. The La Grange, Ill., native registered a double-double with 49 assists and 14 digs, went a perfect 3-for-3 on the attack, and stuffed a key block in the fifth to lead the Illini to victory. Viliunas was named Big Ten Freshman of the Week on Oct. 15 following her outstanding debut. She is the first Illinois freshman ever to earn a Big Ten weekly award for her first career appearance.
Redshirt freshman Jocelynn Birks erupted for 14 kills in the third set at Michigan on Oct. 10, the most in a single set since before 2002. Birks topped Rachel VanMeter's 13 kills registered in the fourth set against APSU on Sept. 2, 2005. Single-set breakdowns are not available for the majority of matches prior to 2002.
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 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 1,514 career digs.
Additionally, Beltran is the active leader in the Big Ten in career digs, and sits in 21st all time in the conference.
|1.||2,791||Paula Gentil, MINN||2000-05|
|17.||1,553||Kim Kuzma, WISC||2007-10|
|18.||1,536||Pam Kavadas, IOWA||2001-04|
|19.||1,524||Juli Pierce, IND||'04, 06-08|
|20.||1,516||Jessica Granquist, MINN||2008-11|
JOHNSON BREAKS INTO BLOCKING TOP TEN
Senior middle blocker Erin Johnson has become one of Illinois' best blockers in school history, tabbing 24 solo blocks and 394 assists for a total of 418 blocks. She currently ranks eighth all-time in block assists and ninth in total blocks. She needs four block assists to move into seventh, but 33 to catch up to Michelle Bartsch '11 in total blocks. The Crystal Lake, Ill., native is the only active Big Ten player with 400+ career blocks.
ILLINOIS HAS BEST FIRST WEEK CROWD
• Illinois played Iowa State on Aug. 31 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 17th-best crowds, respectively, of all-time at Huff Hall.
• After the first eight weeks of competition, the Illini rank sixth in the nation in home attendance, with an average of 3,069 fans per match.
• After No. 1 Hawaii, the rest of the top five are all members of the Big Ten (Nebraska, Penn State, Wisconsin, Minnesota). The same was true for the entire 2011 season (Hawaii, Nebraska, Penn State, Wisconsin, Minnesota).
• Including Wednesday's victory over Northwestern, the Illini have pulled a total of 20,790 fans over seven home matches in 2012, for an average of 2,970 per match, which is second only to the 1992 season, when the Illini set a then-NCAA record for season attendance.
• Illinois was 16-1 at home in 2011 and is 60-10 in front of the home crowd since the start of 2008. Nine of the 10 losses came to teams in the top 20, including three to No. 1 Penn State.
• In the years the Illini have qualified for the NCAA Tournament, they have a 258-47 home record (.846).
• Illinois is 22-3 all-time at home during the NCAA Tournament.
Illinois' top all-time yearly attendance (by average)
Total (Average) Year Record
1. 52,666 (3,098) 1992 16-1
2. 20,790 (2,970) 2012 3-4
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
Men's volleyball shares the stage with the women on Sunday Oct. 21. Following the nationally-televised match against Nebraska, two of the top men's team in the nation square off as Lewis University meets Loyola (Chicago).
The Illini meet Purdue on Halloween night. Fans are encouraged to wear costumes to the match and participate in "spooktacular" events beforehand.
The Nov. 3 match against Indiana is Girl Scout Night. Whether or not they are scouts, girls eighth grade and below are invited to spend the night in the second annual lock-in following the match. Participants will enjoy dinner and activities, will sleep overnight at the University of Illinois facilities, then wake up to an exclusive breakfast with the entire volleyball team.
When the Illini football and volleyball teams are home on the same weekend, fans are once again able to use their ticket stub from the football game for admittance to volleyball. This offer is available on Sept. 23 (vs. Wisconsin) and Nov. 17 (vs. Michigan).
Pre-registration is required for the lock-in promotion. To register or for more information, please contact Carrie Snyder in marketing at firstname.lastname@example.org or 217-333-6969.