Anna Dorn ranks ninth in the NCAA in hitting percentage.
Oct. 24, 2012
Wisconsin Badgers (15-8, 3-7 Big Ten)
Friday, Oct. 26 • 7 p.m. • UW Field House • Wisconsin All-Access • WDWS
No. 10 Minnesota Golden Gophers (17-4, 8-2 Big Ten)
Sunday, Oct. 28 • Noon • Williams Arena • GopherSports All-Access • WDWS
ILLINI vs. THIS WEEKEND'S COMPETITION
The Illini 44-30-1 all-time against Wisconsin and 38-29-1 in the all-time series with Minnesota.Illinois has won the last nine contests with the Badgers, including a 3-2 victory in Huff Hall on Sept. 23, 2012. The Golden Gophers have won 13 of the last 17 matches against the Illini dating back to the start of 2004, including a 3-0 victory over Illinois in the 2012 Big Ten opener on Sept. 21.
LAST TIME OUT
The Orange and Blue hosted No. 4 Nebraska on Sunday in front of a national audience on ESPN2. After claiming two-consecutive 5-set victories, the Illini fell to the Huskers, 3-0, on their home court. Jocelynn Birks led the Illini offense with 13 kills, and Ali Stark directed the defense with 13 digs. Julia Conard matched her personal best with eight digs in her first career start, and Erin Johnson put up a team-high four block assists. The Illini out-dug the Huskers 42-40 and the teams were tied with 41 kills, but unforced errors made the difference in the match, as the Illini hit 12 attacks and five serves out of bounds as compared to just seven total unforced errors by the Huskers.
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.
ILLINOIS DROPS OUT OF RANKINGS
After 70 straight weeks in the AVCA Top 25, the Illini dropped out of the rankings on Oct. 22. The Orange and Blue used 2008 opening-weekend wins over No. 23 New Mexico State and No. 11 Oregon to jump into the rankings for the first time since 2004, where they remained for 70-straight polls until Oct. 22, 2012, when they fell to 29th with a total of 30 votes. The Illini were ranked No. 25 when they defeated Northwestern in five and fell to No. 4 Nebraska, 3-0, at home for their final week in the top 25.
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 1,521 career digs.
Additionally, Beltran is the active leader in the Big Ten in career digs, and sits in 20th 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|
|2.||1,410||Beth Yeager, IOWA||2010-|
|3.||1,376||Julie Chin, NU||2009-|
|4.||1,336||Julianna Mandolfo, OSU||2010-|
|5.||1,199||Hannah Werth, NEB||2009-|
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.
|1.||422 (24-398)||Erin Johnson||2009-|
|2.||383 (42-341)||Alexis Matthews, MSU||2010-|
|3.||356 (48-308)||Jennifer Cross, MICH||2010-|
|356 (47-309)||Katie Slay, PSU||2010-|
|5.||344 (49-295)||Alexis Mitchell, WISC||2009-|
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.
• Through the first nine weeks of competition, the Illini rank sixth in the nation in home attendance, with an average of 3,002 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).
• The Illini have pulled a total of 24,012 fans over eight home matches in 2012, for an average of 3,002 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 60-11 in front of the home crowd since the start of 2008. 10 of the 11 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.
2012 NCAA Attendance Leaders (as of 10/22)
Rk Team Total Dates Avg.
1. Hawaii 94,488 14 6,749
2. Nebraska 44,197 10 4,420
3. Penn State 31,015 9 3,446
4. Wisconsin 26,091 8 3,261
5. Minnesota 31,913 10 3,191
6. Illinois 24,012 8 3,002
Illinois' top all-time yearly attendance (by average)
Total (Average) Year Record
1. 52,666 (3,098) 1992 16-1
2. 24,012 (3,002) 2012 3-5
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
ILLINOIS HAS FORMIDABLE SCHEDULE
• Illinois plays 13 different teams (eight of them twice) that made the 2011 NCAA Tournament. Of those, 12 advanced to the second round, eight reached the Sweet 16 and three were in the Elite Eight. In total, the Illini play 14 matches against Sweet 16 teams.
• The schedule features 15 matches against teams ranked in this week's top 25, having already played 11 matches against teams ranked at the time of the match. Those ranked opponents are Penn State (1), Nebraska (4), Texas (8), Minnesota (10), Louisville (13), Dayton (15), Ohio State (20), Purdue (21), Iowa State (22), Pepperdine (23), Additionally, Michigan State received votes.
• The Illini are slated to face at least one ranked opponent in each of the first 12 weeks of the season. As the rankings currently stand, Illinois will face a ranked opponent every week until mid-November if neither Michigan nor Michigan State re-enters the rankings.
• The Illini's schedule features four teams in the top 10 in this week's RPI (#2 Penn State, #3 Nebraska, #4 Texas, #9 Minnesota). The Orange and Blue are 1-3 against them with two more contests remaining, including Sunday at Minnesota.
• Of Illinois' 18 opponents, four are in the RPI top 10, eight in the top 30, 12 in the top 50, and 15 in the top 100. #222 UCF is the Illini's only nonconference opponent outside of the top 100.
• All of Illinois' 10 losses have come to teams in the RPI top 40, and five of the Illini's 10 wins were over top 50 teams, including a 3-2 victory at #4 Texas.
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. Pre-registration is required for the lock-in.
When the Illini football and volleyball teams are home on the same weekend, fans may use their ticket stub from the football game for admittance to volleyball. This offer is available on Nov. 17 (vs. Michigan).