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    Illini take to the road at Big Ten's halfway point
    Michelle Bartsch ranks ninth in the Big Ten in blocks

    Michelle Bartsch ranks ninth in the Big Ten in blocks

    Oct. 21, 2009

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    Illinois completes first half of Big Ten
    Illinois is ranked in the top 10 in consecutive weeks for the first time since 1992 and closes out the first half of the Big Ten schedule at Wisconsin, winners of four of the last six matches, and Iowa, who took a set from No. 1 Penn State. Radio: Both matches will air live on fightingillini.com and WDWS (AM-1400) with Dave Loane (play-by-play) and Mike Koon (analysis) providing the call.

    First half comes to a close
    Illinois takes a 6-2 conference mark into this weekend's matches which conclude the first half of the Big Ten. Last year, the Illini went 7-3 in the opening 10 matches and 8-2 in the second half.
    • Illinois is looking for its first back-to-back winning Big Ten seasons since 2003 and 2004.
    • The Illini have not won 15 Big Ten matches in consecutive seasons since 1987 and 1988.

    Record crowd sees Illinois down Gophers
    Illinois defeated Minnesota in straight sets on Oct. 16 in front of a school-record crowd of 7,632 at Assembly Hall as part of Spike the Record. The attendance breaks the old mark of 4,316 set on Dec. 11, 1992 in the Regional Final match with Stanford at Huff Hall.

    Illinois trying to keep to continue magic at Wisconsin Fieldhouse
    Last season Illinois won at Wisconsin Fieldhouse for the first time since 1998. The Illini have not won in Madison in back-to-back seasons since 1992 and 1993.
    • Last year the Illini downed the Badgers 25-18, 25-16, 25-23 behind 16 kills and a .333 attack percentage from Laura DeBruler.
    • Illinois is 39-30-3 all-time vs. Wisconsin, but the Badgers have won 21 of the last 27 meetings overall dating back to 1995.

    Illini move up to No. 8 this week
    Illinois moves up two spots to No. 8 in the AVCA Coaches poll, while also ranking No. 9 in the Volleyball Magazine top 20. The Illini were No. 8 after winning the Bluejay Invitational the first weekend of the season.
    • Illinois is in the top 10 in consecutive regular season weeks for the first time since 1992.
    • Four Big Ten teams are in the Top 11 -- Penn State (1), Illinois (8), Minnesota (9) and Michigan (11)
    • Two non-conference opponents find themselves in the Top 25 -- Florida State (17) and Saint Louis (24).

    Edinger claims Big Ten accolade
    For the second straight week, an Illinois player has earned the Big Ten's Defensive Player of the Week. Senior libero Ashley Edinger wins the honor this week after playing a major role in straight set victories over both Northwestern and No. 6 Minnesota. The honor comes a week after junior middle blocker Johannah Bangert earned the Big Ten's weekly defensive honor.

    Edinger commanded the Illinois defense that held opponents to .165 hitting over the weekend, averaging 6.3 digs per set. Against the Wildcats on Wednesday, the libero saved 19 hits and was flawless on all 11 of her service reception opportunities as the Fighting Illini held their opponent to a .092 attack clip on the night. On Saturday against the nationally ranked Golden Gophers, Edinger once again picked up 19 digs and converted on all 12 of her service receptions as Illinois earned the sweep. The senior now totals 1,868 digs in her career to rank in the conference's all-time top 10, also leading the Big Ten with 4.55 digs per set during conference play. The weekly honor is the fifth in Edinger's career.
    Johannah Bangert was named Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week on Oct. 12 after tying an 18-year-old school record with 13 block assists in Illinois' five-set win over Purdue on Friday. The total is the highest single-match blocks total in the Big Ten this season. The junior added six more stuffs the following day in a sweep over Indiana, giving her an average of 2.4 per set on the weekend.

    Illinois tries to extend streak in Iowa City Illinois has won five straight over the Hawkeyes at Iowa City, dating back to 2003. In fact, the Illini have lost only two sets at Iowa in that stretch.
    • Illinois has won seven straight vs. Iowa. The last loss to the Hawkeyes came on Oct. 14, 2005 in Champaign. The last Iowa win at Iowa City came on Oct. 11, 2002.
    • Illinois leads the all-time series, 49-13.

    Illinois building home court advantage.
    • Illinois is 8-1 at home this year and 21-4 in front of the home crowd the past two years. Two of the losses have come to No. 1 Penn State. After starting the conference with six of eight at home, the Illini play the next four matches on the road.

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