Women's Volleyball
Match Notes: Illini Host No. 22 Purdue in 'Halloween at Huff'

Come in costume and arrive early to enjoy the 'Spooktacular' pre-match activities
Come in costume and arrive early to enjoy the 'Spooktacular' pre-match activities

Oct. 30, 2012

Complete Illinois Match Notes (PDF)

No. 22 Purdue Boilermakers (16-7, 7-5 Big Ten)
Wednesday, Oct. 31 • 7 p.m. • Huff Hall • Big Ten Network • WDWS • WDAN

TV: Big Ten Network • Mike Wolfe and Liz Tortorello Nelson
Radio: Illini Radio Network • Dave Loane and Mike Trame
         WDWS 1400 AM in Champaign • WDAN 1490 AM in Danville • Online
GameTracker: http://iurl.no/ha0

Purdue's Match Notes (PDF)

The Last Meeting
#13 Purdue3
September 29, 2012
West Lafayette, Ind.
Illini Fall in Hard-Fought Skirmish at Purdue
Illinois hit a season-high .370 but lost in five to No. 13 Purdue (25-20, 22-25, 25-20, 10-25, 15-7). | BOX SCORE (PDF) |


Illinois is 42-35 all-time against Purdue, 25-12 in Champaign-Urbana and 18-4 in Huff Hall.The Illini won the first 10 contests with the Boilermakers in Huff Hall along with the last four straight. The Orange and Blue have won seven of the last 10 matchups, but lost three of the last four, all on the road. 

Illinois lost 3-2 at Purdue on Sept. 29, with set scores 25-20, 22-25, 25-20, 10-25, 15-7. The Illini hit a season-best .370 with a season-high 73 kills, but too many errors in the fifth set led to the first of three-straight heartbreaking 5-set Big Ten losses. Jocelynn Birks and Ali Stark both recorded double-doubles, and Annie Luhrsen put up a season-best 62 assists, while the Illini out-blocked the Boilermakers 10-4.


The Orange and Blue struggled on the road this past weekend, falling 3-1 at Wisconsin and 3-0 at No. 10 Minnesota. The Illini took the first set from the Badgers, but lost the second. They were in position to win the third, but ended up falling 25-23, then dropped the fourth, 25-22. The Illini used both Viliunas and Luhrsen equally in the match. The experienced Luhrsen returned to the starting lineup at MInnesota for the first time since the Penn State match, and though the Illini had late leads in the second and third sets, Illiniois fell 3-0 (25-19, 26-24, 25-22).


The Illini have appeared on local, regional and national television 145 times since 1988, compiling an 84-61 (.579) overall record. Nationally, Illinois is 33-28, including 7-10 on ESPN/ESPN2 and 10-12 on the Big Ten Network. The Illini are 1-4 on television this season, defeating Texas on the Longhorn Network, but losing to Minnesota, Purdue and Michigan on BTN and Nebraska on ESPN2.


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.

Viliunas and Luhrsen split time at Wisconsin on Oct. 26, with Viliunas starting the match and playing the majority of the first and third sets, and Luhrsen playing the second and fourth sets. Luhrsen returned to the starting lineup at Minnesota on Oct. 28. The Illini are 8-10 with Luhrsen starting and 2-2 when Viliunas starts.


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.


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 1,550 career digs.

Illinois Career Digs
1. 1,921 Ashley Edinger 2006-09
2. 1,550 Jennifer Beltran 2010-
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

Additionally, Beltran is the active leader in the Big Ten in career digs, and sits in 18th all time in the conference.

Big Ten Career Digs
1. 2,791 Paula Gentil, MINN 2000-05
14. 1,632 Jenny Rees, IOWA 1987-90
15. 1,572 Stacey Gordon, OSU 2001-04
16. 1,562 Becky Kanitz, PUR 1985-88
17. 1,553 Kim Kuzma, WISC 2007-10
18. 1,521 Jennifer Beltran 2010-

Active Big Ten Career Digs (10/29)
1. 1,550 Jennifer Beltran 2010-
2. 1,427 Beth Yeager, IOWA 2010-
3. 1,382 Julie Chin, NU 2009-
4. 1,352 Julianna Mandolfo, OSU 2010-
5. 1,240 Hannah Werth, NEB 2009-


Senior middle blocker Erin Johnson has become one of Illinois' best blockers in school history, tabbing 24 solo blocks and 407 assists for a total of 431 blocks. She is currently in sixth place all-time in block assists and ranks ninth in total blocks. She needs six block assists to move into fifth, and 20 total to catch up to Michelle Bartsch '11. The Crystal Lake, Ill., native is the only active Big Ten player with 400+ career blocks.

Illinois Career Block Assists
1. 613 Johannah Bangert 2007-10
2. 452 Kristin Henriksen 1990-93
3. 442 Mary Eggers 1985-88
4. 422 Michelle Bartsch 2008-11
5. 413 Betsy Spicer 1997-00
6. 407 Erin Johnson 2009-
7. 401 Sara Sorrell 1996-99
8. 398 Nancy Brookhart 1986-89
9. 391 Denise Fracaro 1982-85
10. 339 Disa Johnson 1984-87

Illinois Career Total Blocks
1. 653 Johannah Bangert 2007-10
2. 562 Mary Eggers 1985-88
3. 550 Kristen Henriksen 1990-93
4. 522 Nancy Brookhart 1986-89
5. 497 Denise Fracaro 1982-85
6. 456 Betsy Spicer 1997-00
7. 455 Sara Sorrell 1996-99
8. 451 Michelle Bartsch 2008-11
9. 431 Erin Johnson 2009-

Active Big Ten Career Blocks (10/29)
1. 431 (24-407) Erin Johnson 2009-
2. 391 (43-348) Alexis Matthews, MSU 2010-
3. 367 (47-320) Katie Slay, PSU 2010-
4. 362 (49-313) Jennifer Cross, MICH 2010-
5. 358 (49-309) Alexis Mitchell, WISC 2009-


Senior Annie Luhrsen ranks eighth all-time at the University of Illinois in career assists, with 2,421. She is one of just nine setters to reach the 2,000-mark at Illinois. The Wheaton, Ill., native registered an additional 1,165 assists her freshman year at UConn, bringing her combined career total to 3,586. 

Illinois Career Assists (2,000+)
1.5,797Melissa Beithz1996-99
2.5,550Disa Johnson1984-87
3.4,457Barb Winsett1987-90
4.3,956Hillary Haen2007-10
5.3,847Lizzie Bazzetta2005-08
6.3,661Merrill Mullis1990-93
7.3,578Betsy Eiserman1999-02
8.2,421Annie Luhrsen2010-
9.2,222Erin Virtue2001-04


• 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 10 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 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 10/29)
3.Penn State31,01593,446
4.Minnesota39, 792123,316

Illinois’ top all-time volleyball crowds (4,000+)
4.4,211Ohio State$12/3/1992
5.4,141Penn State9/24/2010
7.4,050Ohio State10/18/1991
4,050Penn State11/27/1992
9.4,021Michigan St.10/15/2011
$ NCAA Tourney; * At Assembly Hall

Illinois’ top all-time yearly attendance (by average)
Total (Average)YearRecord
1.52,666 (3,098)199216-1
2.24,012 (3,002)20123-5
3.34,539 (2,657)199311-3
4.42,068 (2,475)201116-1
5.31,381 (2,414)19968-5
6.32,856 (2,347)199510-4
7.31,391 (2,242)199113-1
8.33,279 (2,108)198816-0
9.29,480 (2,106)200914-1