Ashley Edinger is 28 digs shy of the all-time Illinois digs record.
Oct. 28, 2008
Champaign, Ill. -
Season has been a breakout for Illini
Illinois has burst back onto the national scene this year. Here are a few of the accomplishments along that realm.
With a 7-3 record, completed the best first half of the Big Ten season since going 9-1 in 2003.
With 16 wins has tied the wins all of the 2007 season. Another win will give the Illini the most victories since winning 19 in 2004.
Saw its first national ranking since 2004
Defeated two ranked teams in the same day for the first time ever with a 24-26, 25-21, 25-19, 25-14 victory over New Mexico State in the afternoon and a comeback 14-25, 16-25, 26-24, 25-21, 15-13 over no. 11 Oregon in the evening at the State Farm Illini Classic.
Defeated three ranked teams in the same season for the first time since 2003. The Illini are now 5-3 vs. ranked opponents this season.
Won at Michigan and Ohio State in the same season since 1998
Defeated Wisconsin, annually one of the teams in conference, for the first time since 2004.
Shooting for its first NCAA appearance since 2004 and its first upper division Big Ten finish since 2003.
Edinger on verge of digs record
Ashley Edinger holds two of the top three digs seasons in Illinois history, including 564 last year. Edinger also topped 1,000 digs in just her 57th match of her career. Tracey Marshall, who is Illinois' all-time digs leader with 1,426, recorded her 1,000th career dig in her 80th match. Edinger enters the week with 1,398 digs, just 28 off the Illinois all-time record.
She also had 35 digs vs Dayton, her sixth 30+digs match of her career.
With 346 digs, Edinger is on pace for 511 this year, which would give her three of the top four single-season digs seasons in school history.
Edinger named Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week
Ashley Edinger was named Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week in helping lead the Illini to victories over no. 18 Purdue and Michigan State.
Edinger averaged 5.2 digs per set with 15 digs against Purdue and 16 vs. Michigan State. She also made just one reception error in 43 total chances. Edinger ranks third in the Big Ten at 4.49 digs per set and has totaled a .968 serve reception percentage, 61 assists and 12 aces for the year.
Edinger is also moving up the all-time Big Ten list for digs, needing just 166 to crack the top ten. At this pace, Edinger would have 2,105 digs for her career, which would be fourth on the all-time Big Ten list. She has two of the top three-all-time digs seasons in Illinois history, including a record 564 last year. Edinger also has six of the top 10 single-match digs marks ever by an Illini.
That marked the first time Illinois has had three different players earn Player of the Week in the same season since Kristin Henriksen, Sue Nucci and Tina Rogers did so in 1993.
Illinois career digs list 1. Tracey Marshall 1,426 2. Ashley Edinger 1,398 3. Mary Coleman 1,393 4. Lauren Harks 1,346 5. Beth Vrdsky 1,166 6. Sandy Scholtens 1,133 7. Mary Eggers 1,092 8. Petra Laverman 1,003 9. Kathleen Bazzetta 974 10. Shadia Haddad 962Bangert leads nation in blocks
Illinois single-season digs list 1. Ashley Edinger (2007) 564 2. Beth Vrdsky (2005) 520 3. Ashley Edinger (2006) 488 4. Tracey Marshall (1998) 465 5. Erin Borske (1995) 396 7. Lauren Harks (2003) 393 7. Mary Coleman (1998) 391 8. Shadia Haddad (2000) 371 9. Shadia Haddad (2001) 368 10. Mary Coleman (1995) 367
Illinois single-match list 1. Petra Laverman (9/30/89) 38 2. Ashley Edinger (11/2/07) 37 3. Beth Vrdsky (9/16/05) 36 4. Ashley Edinger (9/12/08) 35 5. Ashley Edinger (10/21/07) 34 6. Ashley Edinger (8/31/07) 32 Rita Schwartz (9/5/84) 32 8. Ashley Edinger (9/3/06) 31 Beth Vrdsky (11/16/05) 31 10. Ashley Edinger (9/28/88) 30
Bangert not only leads the Big Ten in blocking in overall matches, but also with a 1.78 blocks per set average in conference matches.Michelle Bartsch is sixth at 1.33.
Bangert and the record book
With 123 total blocks this year, Bangert is on pace for 182, which would be second most in school history in a season behind only Denise Fracaro's 225 in 1985 and just ahead of Mary Eggers' 177 in 1988.
Bangert's 12 blocks vs. New Mexico State are tied for the fourth most in a match in school history. Kellie Hebeisen holds the record with 15 vs. Georgia in 1991.
Bangert named Big Ten co-Defensive Player of the Week
Illinois sophomore Johannah Bangert was named Big Ten co-Defensive Player of the Week on Oct. 20 after leading the Illini to road wins over Michigan and Ohio State. She had six kills, hit .364 and tallied six blocks vs. OSU then had nine blocks, five kills and a .714 attack percentage vs. Michigan.
Illinois up to 6th in the RPI
The NCAA released its second RPI rankings on Monday, Oct. 27. Illinois, whose strength of schedule is among the best in the country, is ranked 8th in the rankings.
1 Stanford 17-3 2 Nebraska 20-0 3 Penn St. 22-0 4 Texas 16-2 5 Minnesota 18-4 6 Illinois 16-5 7 California 18-2 8 Florida 17-2 9 Purdue 17-5 10 St. Louis 19-4 11 Colorado St. 18-2 12 Oregon 17-4 13 Tulane 18-5 14 Washington 16-3 15 Kansas St. 18-4 16 Wichita St. 22-0 17 Utah 15-4 18 Florida Int'l 20-4 19 Southern California 11-7 20 Hawaii 17-3
Bazzetta moves up assists charts
Lizzie Bazzetta has 404 assists for the season and 3,610, which ranks fifth on the all-time Illinois assists list. She needs just 51 to pass Merrill Mullis for fourth on that list.
Illinois all-time assists leaders Name Assists Matches Years 1. Melissa Beitz 5,797 114 1996-99 2. Disa Johnson 5,550 141 1984-87 3. Barb Winsett 4,457 128 1987-90 4. Merrill Mullis 3,661 119 1990-93 5. Lizzie Bazzetta 3,610 105 2005-08 6. Betsy Eiserman 3,578 86 2000-02Illini block sets tone
To put the block surge in perspective, last season Illinois ranked 10th in the Big Ten last year at 2.23 blocks per, set keeping in mind that last year the teams played to 30 instead of 25.
2008 NCAA Division I Block Leaders Name Blocks Average 1 Johannah Bangert, Illinois 123 1.58 Ashten Stelken, UNI 123 1.58 3 Emily Underwood, Memphis 155 1.57 4 Ashley Benson, Indiana 128 1.56 5 Lori Baird, Utah 104 1.55 6 Anna Breyfogle, Baylor 116 1.55 7 Christa Harmotto, Penn St. 95 1.51 8 Danielle Hepburn, Clemson 116 1.51 9 Foluke Akinradewo, Stanford 100 1.49 10 Lauren Gibbemeyer, Minnesota 113 1.47Illinois and the national rankings
2008 NCAA Division I Team Block Leaders Team SP BS BA BPS 1 Penn St. 66 48 332 3.24 2 Utah 67 37 349 3.16 3 Colorado St. 75 40 368 2.99 4 Minnesota 77 84 288 2.96 5 Louisville 81 73 330 2.94 6 Clemson 77 61 319 2.86 7 Idaho 80 37 383 2.86 8 Memphis 99 49 463 2.83 9 Indiana 82 37 386 2.80 10 Illinois 78 19 394 2.77
Illinois continues to be one of six Big Ten teams in the national rankings. Defending national champion Penn State is first followed by Minnesota at no. 13, Illinois (17), Michigan (18), Purdue (20) and Wisconsin (25). The Big Ten ties the Pac 10, who boasts six of the top 12 teams, in number teams ranked.
Big Ten teams were a combined 103-26 (.798) during the non-conference. This included eight victories over ranked opponents -- Penn State over no. 12 Hawaii and no. 6 UCLA; Minnesota over no. 21 LSU and no. 16 Cal Poly; Wisconsin over no. 23 BYU; Purdue over no. 14 Kansas State; and Illinois over no. 11 Oregon and no. 23 New Mexico State.
In addition to the five other Big Ten teams in the national ranking, three other Illinois opponents are ranked -- no. 5 Stanford, no. 7 Oregon and no. 23 Saint Louis. New Mexico State and North Carolina are also receiving votes.
DeBruler chases 1,000 kills
With the team's success this season, sophomore Laura DeBruler has emerged as a potential All-American candidate. DeBruler had 31 kills in a five-set victory over no. 11 Oregon and 24 in a hard-fought victory at Illinois State.
At 4.59 kills per set, DeBruler ranks second in the Big Ten and 7th nationally in that category. She leads the conference in kills during conference matches at 4.78
DeBruler now has 935 kills for her young career with a good chance to surpass the 1,000-mark this season. Illinois' all-time kills leader, Mary Eggers, had 906 in her first two seasons. Erin Borske holds the Illini record for kills in her two seasons with 1,192, but played just two years.
DeBruler led all freshmen nationally, while ranking 22nd overall in kills per set in 2007.
2008 NCAA Division I Kills Leaders Name Blocks Average 1 Yarimar Rosa, Florida Int'l 471 5.35 2 Mackenzie Angner, SDSU 383 5.04 3 Jeanne Fairchild, New Mexico 328 4.82 4 Erica Short, Indiana 393 4.79 5 Yun Yi Zhang, Temple 417 4.74 6 Angie Porché, Valparaiso 395 4.65 7 Laura DeBruler, Illinois 358 4.59 8 Meagan Schoenrock, NIU 375 4.57 9 Marcela Gurgel, South Fla. 382 4.49 10 Hayley Hills, Eastern Wash. 351 4.44 11 Hana Cutura, California 297 4.43 12 Ellen Herman, Ohio 312 4.39 13 Haley Larsen, Idaho 351 4.39 14 Burgandy McCurty, Siena 369 4.34 15 Emily Day, Loyola Marymount 320 4.32Laura DeBruler making history
DeBruler posted the first 20-20 performance by an Illini in six years with 24 kills on a career-high 80 swings to go along with 22 digs. The last Illinois player to accomplish that was Sue Webber, who had 22 kills and 26 digs vs. Minnesota on Oct. 12, 2002.
DeBruler followed that with 21 kills and 15 digs in a four-set victory over Iowa and 26 kills and 16 digs vs. Northwestern
DeBruler now has eight 20-kill matches this season, including a 31-kill performance vs. no. 11 Oregon. That gives her 24 20-kill matches for her career, which moves her to third place on the Illini's all-time list.
Illinois career 20-kill matches 1. Rachel VanMeter (`01-'05) 29 2. Erin Borske (`94-'95) 28 3. Laura DeBruler (2007-08) 23 4. Tracey Marshall (`96-'99) 19 5. Mary Coleman (`95-'98) 18 6. Shadia Haddad (`98-'01) 16 7. Bridget Boyle (`86-'89) 13 Nancy Brookhart (`86-'89) 13 9. Betsy Spicer (`97-2000) 11 Petra Laverman (`88-'90) 11Illinois in the middle of hot streak
Haen playing front row in two-setter system
Illinois utilized a two-setter system during this spring and did so with great success. Although the Illini opened the season using both Hillary Haen and Lizzie Bazzetta in the back row in a 6-2 system, injuries to right side hitters Nicole Kump and Kayani Turner have meant Haen seeing time in the front row as well.
This has not caused a huge challenge for the Illini as this is also one of the line-ups that was used regularly during the spring,. That gives Illinois two setters in the match at the same time on three of the six rotations.
Haen has played in the front row the past eight matches and is hitting .304 with 11 block ssists during that time.
Nelson picking up steam
Sophomore Abby Nelson saw limited action in her first season with Illinois in 2007. This season Nelson has been a force.
Nelson had a big weekend against Michigan and Ohio State with 15 kills and hit .464 in a pair of road victories.
She had eight kills and hit .636 vs. Purdue.
Nelson had eight kills and five blocks while hitting .667 in the victory over New Mexico State, all career highs. She topped that with eight blocks vs. Saint Louis. Nelson also hit .333 at the Billiken Invitational.
In the Tennessee Comcast Classic, Nelson had 24 kills and hit .403
She has hit over .300 nine times this season and over .400 seven times.
Illini comeback thwarts Ducks; Illini win State Farm Illini Classic
For the first time in Illinois history, the Illini defeated two ranked teams on the same day with victories over no. 23 New Mexico State and no. 11 Oregon in Day Two of the State Farm Illini Classic.
The victory over Oregon was especially significant. The Ducks dominated Illinois in the first two sets, winning 25-14, 15-26, Illinois rallied from way down to win the last three sets 26-24, 25-21, 15-13. The Illini were down 16-9 and 19-14 in the fourth set.
Oregon hit .462 and .444, respectively, in the first two sets, while the Illini tallied no blocks and hit just .072 combined.
Illinois out-blocked the Ducks 12-5.5 in the final three sets
Illinois won its 18th Illini Classic in the 25 years of the event
DeBruler earns national, conference Player of the Week honors
Laura DeBruler was at the heart of the Illini comeback win over no. 11 Oregon with 22 kills in the final three sets en route to a match-high 31, which also ties a career high.
The honors rolled in all week for DeBruler who not only earned her third Big Ten Player of the Week honor in her young career, but also was named AVCA and CVU.com National Player of the Week.
DeBruler becomes the first Illinois player to earn the award since Jessica Belter on Oct. 20, 2003.
DeBruler averaged 5.4 kills per set to lead Illinois to the tournament's title. The sophomore recorded a double-double in each match with 14 kills and 15 digs against the Tar Heels, 20 kills and 11 digs vs. the Aggies and 31 kills and 12 saves against the Ducks. Against Oregon, DeBruler led the Illini back from a two-set deficit, putting down 22 of her 31 kills in the final three stanzas. In set 4, she recorded nine kills, including six of the final nine Illinois points to key the rally that saw the Illini score 11 of the final 13 points in the set. On the weekend DeBruler totaled 65 kills on a .302 hitting percentage with 38 total digs (3.2 dps) and 11 total blocks (0.9 dps).
Turner makes miraculous comeback
The fact that fifth-year senior Kayani Turner is in the line-up is a true miracle.
A knee injury kept Turner out of action during her freshman campaign, then she missed the final six matches in 2005 with a stress fracture. It was out of that injury that Turner developed a condition called Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy, which essentially sends the same pain signal through the nerves as if the fracture still existed.
The condition first surfaced during the spring of 2006, but she felt fine to start the fall season and was named MVP of two tournaments. Turner ranked 15th nationally in kills per game through Oct. 15, but the pain was too much toward the end of the year that she saw limited to no time from there on out.
During one weekend in October, it was determined that Turner would only play in one of the two matches that weekend. She had 19 kills and hit .459 in an upset of no. 16 Ohio State.
Turner missed all of the 2007 season and it appeared her career might be over. Determined not to have any regrets, Turner decided to give it one last shot and she played well Illinois' overseas trip and joins freshman Michelle Bartsch and sophomore Nicole Kump in the rotation at the right side this season.
Illinois completes successful European Trip
Illinois traveled to Italy, Slovenia and Croatia during the last two weekends in May. The Illini went 9-1, including the Big Ten Conference's first victory over the Italian Junior National Team.
The last two times Illinois has taken a foreign trip -- 1998 to Holland and 2003 to Brazil, the Illini reached the NCAA Sweet 16
Several Illinois players collected hardware during the trip. Sophomore Laura DeBruler won Tournament MVP in Belluno, Italy, where the Illini swept Team Belluno, 25-18, 26-24, 25-16 and Team Sbico 25-23, 25-17, 12-15. Junior Ashley Edinger earned the award for Best Defensive Player of the Tournament while senior Lizzie Bazzetta was named Best Setter. Illinois won all three matches at a tournament in Rogla, Slovenia, with Johannah Bangert earning Tournament MVP.
Illinois fared better than any Big Ten team in recent years against the Italian Junior National Team. Illinois won the first match on May 26 25-21, 23-25, 25-19, 27-29, 15-12, in Ravenna, then lost a hard-fought five-gamer the next night 25-21, 12-25, 18-25, 25-19, 15-10.
Illinois posts impressive win over SLU, play competitively vs. no. 3 Stanford
Illinois' tough schedule continued at the Billiken Invitational. After dropping the first set against undefeated Saint Louis, the Illini rallied for a 21-25, 25-20, 25-18, 25-18 victory. The next day vs. no. 3 Stanford, the Illini were soundly defeated in set one, 25-15, but were competitive in the final two sets, dropping them 25-22, 25-22. The Illini had leads of 16-14 and 20-18 vs. Stanford in set two. The Illini also defeated William & Mary 25-23, 25-20, 25-13. Kylie McCulley led the Illini with 17 kills vs. the Tribe.
Bartsch starts for U.S. Junior National Team
Illinois freshman Michelle Bartsch not only made the 12-member U.S. Junior National Team this year, but started every match at middle blocker in the NORCECA Championships in Mexico, leading the United States to the gold medal. She was also named the Most Outstanding Server of the Championships.
Bartsch had nine kills, two blocks and an ace while hitting .818 in the gold medal match and was also selected as the best server for the tournament.
The native of Maryville, Ill., and graduate of Collinsville High School started at middle blocker in all six matches for the United States team. The Americans placed second to the Dominican Republic in pool A, but stormed back through medal round to win three straight and claim the gold, defeating Dominica in the final, 25-21, 25-20, 25-18.
In the gold medal match, Bartsch served six straight points in the first set, including an ace to turn a three-point deficit into a three-point advantage for the U.S. She also key two rallies with a pair of kills as the American's pulled out the game two victory.
The road to the championship match included a three-set victory over Mexico (25-18, 25-17, 25-21) and a four-set win over Cuba (23-25, 25-17, 25-21, 25-19). Bartsch led the Americans in points against both Mexico and Cuba with 12 and 10, respectively.
DeBruler named Pre-Season All-Big Ten
Illinois sophomore outside hitter Laura DeBruler was named Pre-Season All-Big Ten by the conference coaches.
DeBruler led all freshmen in Division I in kills while ranking first in the Big Ten and 22nd overall nationally with 4.89 kills per game in 2007. The graduate of Downers Grove (Ill.) North High School had 28 kills in her Illinois debut vs. Bowling Green, the only player even to reach double figures in her first match as an Illini. DeBruler finished the season with 577 kills, the third most by any player in Illinois history. She tallied 15 matches with at least 20 kills, tied for second most in a season in school history. DeBruler ranked second on the Illinois team with 285 digs while being named to three All-Tournament teams in 2007.