Notes: Hoosiers Head to Huff on Saturday
Nov. 2, 2012
Indiana Hoosiers (10-14, 2-10 Big Ten)
Video: BTN.com (Student U) Joe Sargis and Kyle Breitbarth
ILLINI vs. THE HOOSIERS
Illinois is 57-16 all-time against Indiana, having won eight of the last nine matchups. The Illini are 28-5 at home against Indiana, going 19-4 vs. the Hoosiers in Huff Hall.
The Illini defeated the Hoosiers, 3-1 (22-25, 25-12, 25-17, 25-20), in Bloomington on Sept. 28. The Orange and Blue hit a then-season-high .364 as a team, with five Illini hitting attacking at .300 or better. Jocelynn Birks recorded a double-double with 15 kills, 12 digs and four blocks. Liz McMahon hit .474 with 11 kills and Erin Johnson hit .500 with 10 kills and eight blocks. Anna Dorn registered seven kills and seven blocks.
LAST TIME OUT
The Orange and Blue suffered another tough, 3-2, loss on Wednesday night, falling to No. 22 Purdue on BTN. The Boilermakers erased a 23-21 deficit in the first set to take the frame 26-24. Illinois dazzled in the next two, taking a 2-1 lead with 25-20 and 25-21 victories in the second and third, but Purdue hit over .300 in the final two sets, winning 25-20 and 15-9 to win the match. Liz McMahon led the match with 22 kills and Jennifer Beltran tabbed 22 digs to jump up three spots in the Big Ten career record book up to 15th all time.
The Illini have found themselves in a tie-breaking fifth set 10 times in 23 matches this season. Seven of their 13 Big Ten matches have gone to five, and six of their nine home matches have needed five sets to establish a winner. Illinois is 4-6 overall, 3-4 in the Big Ten, and 2-4 at home in 5-set matches.
The Illini have only had more 5-set matches once, going 7-4 in 11 five-setters in 2000. The Illini also had 10 five-set matches in 2007, going 1-9 in the tie-breaking set.
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 needed 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, and stayed in against Purdue on Oct. 31. The Illini are 8-11 with Luhrsen starting and 2-2 when Viliunas starts.
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 1,574 career digs.
Additionally, Beltran is the active leader in the Big Ten in career digs, and sits in 15th all time in the conference.
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 411 assists for a total of 435 blocks. She is currently in sixth place all-time in block assists and ranks ninth in total blocks. She needs two block assists to move into fifth, and 16 total to catch up to Michelle Bartsch '11. The Crystal Lake, Ill., native is the only active Big Ten player with 400+ career blocks.
LUHRSEN EIGHTH ALL-TIME IN ASSISTS
Senior Annie Luhrsen ranks eighth all-time at the University of Illinois in career assists, with 2,472. 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 3,637.
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 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 26,059 fans over nine home matches in 2012, for an average of 2,895 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 60-12 in front of the home crowd since the start of 2008. 11 of the 12 losses came to teams in the top 25, 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.