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    Illinois Travels to Northwestern Wednesday for Midweek Matchup
    Junior Morganne Criswell had a career weekend, totaling 36 kills against PSU and OSU.

    Junior Morganne Criswell had a career weekend, totaling 36 kills against PSU and OSU.

    Oct. 23, 2013 - Illinois at Northwestern
    Match 19:
    Northwestern
    Wednesday, Oct. 23, 2013 | 7 p.m. CT | Welsh-Ryan Arena (8,117)
    Video | Audio | Radio: WDWS 1400 AM | GameTracker 
    Match Notes Illinois | Northwestern
    Statistics Illinois (8-10, 4-4 Big Ten) | Northwestern (12-8, 4-4 Big Ten)
    Series History Illinois leads 50-27. Last: Illinois won 3-2 on 11/21/12. Streak: ILL 4
    Tickets General admission tickets are $7 for Adults and $4 for youth. Click here to purchase.
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    The Last Meeting
    Illinois3
    Northwestern2
    November 21, 2012
    Evanston, Ill.
    Explosive Outsides Lead Illini to 3-2 Victory in Evanston
    Outside hitters Jocelynn Birks and Liz McMahon combined for 58 kills tonight to lead the Illini volleyball team past Northwestern, 3-2 (20-25, 25-22, 25-22, 20-25, 15-12), in Evanston.

    ILLINOIS VS. THE WILDCATS

    The Fighting Illini own the all-time series with their upstate rival, 50-27. Illinois swept the season series in 2012 with a pair of 5-set victories, which included a monster performance by outside hitters Liz McMahon and Jocelynn Birks in Evanston on Nov. 21, when the pair combined for 58 kills as McMahon registered Illinois' second-ever 30-kill performance in 25-point rally scoring history and the first since 2008.

    Illinois has won eight of the last nine matchups, including the last four straight. The Orange and Blue are 21-11 all-time in Evanston, with just one loss at Welsh-Ryan Arena since 2005.

    ILLINOIS HAS NATION'S TOUGHEST SCHEDULE

    • According to the NCAA RPI, Illinois has played the nation's most difficult schedule so far this season. The Illini have faced an NCAA-leading nine teams in the RPI top 25 and 15 of their 18 matches were against teams in the top 50. Illinois' opponents Texas (3), Penn State (7) and Wisconsin (10) are also in the SOS top 10.

    • Based on this week's AVCA Coaches Poll, the Illini face six of the top 10 teams, 15 of the top 25, and have 24 (of 30) matches against teams that are receiving votes.

    • Of Illinois' 21 opponents, 19 appeared in at least one poll, including all nine of the Illini's non-conference competition. Only Iowa and Indiana have been left out of every poll, while Long Beach State and Northwestern have received votes but have not made it into the top 25.

    • Huff Hall will be the site of many great competitions, as  five top-10 teams will come to Champaign. The Illini opened the home season in style with visits by then-No. 2 Texas and No. 6 Washington, who are now ranked No. 1 and No. 3, respectively. Illinois hosted then-No. 4 Penn State on Oct. 18, and is awaiting visits by No. 7 Minnesota (Nov. 30) and No. 10 Michigan State (Nov. 9).

    • The Illini have faced 13 ranked opponents thus far. Illinois defeated then-No. 18 Florida State and then-No. 17 Kentucky opening weekend, but fell 3-1 to the host LBSU, who was receiving votes. Illinois split with a pair of ranked foes the following weekend in Ames, falling to No. 14 San Diego, 3-1, but sweeping No. 11 Iowa State. The Orange and Blue defeated Arizona State, which was receiving votes and moved to No. 18 in the following poll, in their home opener, then dropped matches to No. 6 Washington and No. 2 Texas. Illinois fell 3-0 at No. 15 North Carolina on Sept. 20 and at home to No. 12 Nebraska on Sept. 28. Illinois then went 1-1 on the road, falling at No. 9 Michigan State (3-0) but defeating No. 14 Michigan, 3-2. Illinois dropped a heartbreaker at No. 20 Purdue (3-1) the following weekend, and was stunned again by No. 4 Penn State who came back to win 3-2 on Oct. 18. The Illini then took down No. 17 Ohio State on Oct. 20 for a season record of 5-8 against ranked teams.

    • According to this week's RPI, Illinois will face 10 of the top 25 teams and have just two opponents ranked outside the top 100. The Illini dropped close matches to #1 Texas and #2 Penn State in five and lost to #6 Washington, 3-1.  

    • Based on the RPI, Illinois' best victory came over #18 Kentucky (3-2), with six of the Illini's eight victories coming over teams ranked in the top 50. Alternately, nine of Illinois' 10 losses were to teams in the top 35.

    • 15 of Illinois' 21 opponents participated in the 2012 NCAA Tournament, including three of the Final Four teams (Texas, Penn State, Michigan).

    • The Fighting Illini faced three 2012 conference champions in their non-conference slate: Texas (Big 12), Florida State (ACC) and San Diego (West Coast), and went 1-2.

    BELTRAN BREAKS CAREER DIGS RECORD

    In her first two seasons at Illinois, Jennifer Beltran recorded the top two single-season digs performances in school history. She followed with a 500-dig season in 2012, good for sixth all time. Beltran entered her final season in second place all-time with 1,694 career digs, and on Oct. 12, the libero tallied 11 digs at Indiana to pass Ashley Edinger '09 and become Illinois' all-time career digs leader.  

    Illinois Career Digs
    1. 1,953 Jennifer Beltran 2010-
    2. 1,921 Ashley Edinger 2006-09
    3. 1,426 Tracey Marshall 1996-09
    4. 1,393 Mary Coleman 1995-98
    5. 1,346 Lauren Harks 2001-04

    Illinois Single-Season Digs
    1. 623 Jennifer Beltran 2010
    2. 571 Jennifer Beltran 2011
    3. 564 Ashley Edinger 2007
    4. 562 Ashley Edinger 2008
    5. 520 Beth Vrdsky 2005
    6. 500 Jennifer Beltran 2012

    Additionally, Beltran is 10th in the nation among active players and the active Big Ten leader, ranking seventh all time in conference history. With 500 digs in 2013, a figure she's met in each of her first three seasons, Beltran can finish second all time in the Big Ten record books.

    Big Ten career digs
    1. 2,791 Paula Gentil, MINN 2000-05
    2. 2,194 Kate Nobilio, NU 2006-09
    3. 2,182 Jocelyn Wack, WIS 2004-07
    4. 2,178 Stesha Selsky, MICH 2004-07
    5. 2,013 Kelli Miller, PUR 2005-08
    6. 1,957 Kaleena Walters, PSU 2002-05
    7. 1,953 Jennifer Beltran, ILL 2010-
    8. 1,931 Janet Moylan, IOWA 1987-90

    Active NCAA Career Digs (as of Oct. 21)
    1. 2,317 Lena Oliver, Western Mich. 2010-
    2. 2,227 Ali McCurdy, Duke 2010-
    3. 2,142 Alyssa Maren, Seton Hall 2010-
    4. 2,038 Katie Klages, Evansville 2010-
    5. 2,017 Natalie Hugglund, USC 2010
    6. 1,991 Leslie Scheilhaas, Morehead St. 2010-
    7. 1,978 Morgan Cochran, W. Carolina 2010-
    8. 1,972 Megan Baska, Arkasas St. 2010-
    9. 1,963 Bruna Silva, Oral Roberts 2010-
    10. 1,953 Jennifer Beltran 2010-
           
    14. 1,860 Beth Yeager, IOWA 2010-
    29. 1,654 Julianne Mandolfo, OSU* 2010-
    37. 1,604 Carly Cramer, Purdue 2010-

    *First two seasons at Creighton

    ON THE SMALL SCREEN

    As a program, Illinois has played on television 151 times over its history. The Illini are 87-64 all-time on the small screen, including 33-38 on national TV. On Oct. 5, Illinois pulled out an exciting comeback over No. 14 Michigan to defeat the Wolverines in front of a national TV audience on the Big Ten Network. The win snapped a six-match BTN losing streak and marked the Illini's first win on BTN since 2011. The Illini are now 11-16 on the Big Ten network and 1-2 on television in 2013, having lost to No. 12 Nebraska and No. 4 Penn State at home. 

    ILLINI TOP THE ATTENDANCE CHARTS

    • The Illini drew a total of 3,538 fans at the "Stuff Huff" match vs. No. 6 Washington on Sept. 13. That mark sits just behind the 2012 "Stuff Huff" match in 11th all-time at Huff Hall.

    • Illinois hosted Iowa on Sept. 27 at State Farm Center in the Big Ten season opener. The event drew a crowd of 7,061, the second-largest crowd in school history and the largest crowd ever for a volleyball-only event (the record, set in 2009 at 7,632, was held in conjunction with basketball's Illini Madness promotion).

    • The following evening, 3,476 fans came to watch Illinois take on No. 12 Nebraska, the 14th-largest crowd in Huff Hall history.

    Illinois' all-time top volleyball crowds
    1. 7,632 Minnesota* 10/16/2009
    2. 7,061 Iowa* 9/27/2013
    3. 4,316 Stanford^ 12/11/1992
    4. 4,261 Purdue 10/1/2011
    5. 4,211 Ohio State^ 12/3/1992
    6. 4,141 Penn State 9/24/2010
    7. 4,123 Nebraska^ 12/10/1992
    8. 4,050 Ohio State 10/18/1991
    4,050 Penn State 11/27/1992
    10. 4,021 Michigan State 10/15/2011
    11. 3,905 Penn State 11/11/2011
    12. 3,770 Iowa State 8/31/2012
    13. 3,538 Washington 9/13/2013
    14. 3,513 Michigan State 10/24/1992
    15. 3,497 Penn State 10/15/1993
    16. 3,476 Nebraska 9/28/2013
    17. 3,419 Purdue 11/13/1992

    ^NCAA Tournament; *held at State Farm Center

    • The Illini drew a total of 33,713 fans over 12 home matches in 2012, for an average of 2,809 per match, which is second only to the 1992 season, when the Illini set a then-NCAA record for season attendance. The Orange and Blue hosted the NCAA Regional that season, which featured three of the all-time top-five crowds at Huff. 

    So far in 2013, Illinois has averaged 3,374 fans, which is nearly 300 higher than its best season ever.

    • Illinois is 3-4 at home this season, with all four losses coming to teams in the top 15. The Illini are 65-17 in front of a home crowd since the start of 2008. 15 of the 17 losses came to teams in the top 25, including three to No. 1 Penn State. 

    Illinois' all-time top yearly attendance (by average)
    Total (Average) Year Record
    1* 23,621 (3,374) 2013 3-4
    1. 52,666 (3,098) 1992 16-1
    2. 33,713 (2,809) 2012 5-7
    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
    10. 30,646 (2,043) 2010 14-1

    • So far in 2013, Illinois ranks fifth in the nation in average attendance (3,374). Five of the top 10 teams attendance-wise are Big Ten teams: Nebraska (1), Minnesota (4), Illinois (5), Wisconsin (6), Penn State (9).

    2013 NCAA Attendance Leaders (by average)
    Rk. Team Total Dates Avg.
    1. Nebraska 73,611 9 8,179
    2. Hawaii 96,732 13 7,441
    3. Texas 24,907 6 4,151
    4. Minnesota 28,288 7 4,041
    5. Illinois 23,621 7 3,374
    6. Wisconsin 23,018 7 3,288
    7. UNI 29,465 9 3,274
    8. Colorado St. 25,171 8 3,146
    9. Penn State 25,648 9 2,850
    10. Florida 27,273 10 2,727

    ILLINOIS TO HOST 2013 NCAA REGIONAL

    The NCAA has selected Illinois to be one of four Regional hosts for the 2013 NCAA Tournament. Illinois will host three matches on Dec. 13-14 at State Farm Center. All-session tickets are now available by calling the Illinois Ticket Office at 1-866-ILLINI-1. Single Session tickets will go on sale the week of the event after teams have qualified for the regional.

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