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    Illini Seek to Continue Winning Ways against No. 13 Michigan State
    Freshman Maddie Mayers helped lead the Illini to victory on Wednesday with nine blocks against No. 17 Michigan.

    Freshman Maddie Mayers helped lead the Illini to victory on Wednesday with nine blocks against No. 17 Michigan.

    Nov. 9, 2013 - #13 Michigan State at Illinois
    Match 24:
    No. 13 Michigan State
    Saturday, Nov. 9, 2013 | 7 p.m. CT | Huff Hall
    Video | Audio | Radio: WDWS 1400 AM | GameTracker
    Match Notes Illinois | Michigan State
    Statistics Illinois (11-12, 7-6 Big Ten) | Michigan State (18-6, 7-5 Big Ten)
    Series History Illinois leads, 45-25. Last Match: Michigan State won 3-0 on Oct. 4, 2013. Streak: MSU 2

    Tickets Reserved tickets are $7 for adults, $4 for student and youth. General admission is $5 for adults, $2 for youth and FREE with student ID. Call 1-866-ILLINI-1 or visit the Illini Ticket Office at State Farm Center to purchase advance tickets. Tickets will also be available one hour prior to the match at the ticket mobile located by the West entrance of Huff Hall.
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    The Last Meeting
    Illinois0
    #9 Michigan State3
    October 4, 2013
    East Lansing, Mich.
    No. 9 Michigan State Sinks Illinois in Straight Sets
    Illinois played its first Big Ten road match Friday, but stumbled at No. 9 Michigan State, 3-0 (25-15, 25-18, 25-17). McKenna Kelsay made her first appearance at setter, playing opposite her older sister Kristen, a Spartan setter. | BOX SCORE (PDF)|

    ILLINOIS VS. THE SPARTANS

    Illinois has generally played well against Michigan State, owning a 45-25 edge on the all-time series, including 21-9 overall at home. MSU got the win in East Lansing earlier this season, as the hot Spartans were coming off a signature sweep at Penn State and Ohio State the previous weekend en route to being the last Big Ten team to lose a conference match this season. 

    Michigan State began the Big Ten slate 6-0, but has since gone 1-5 over its next six matches, sitting just half a game ahead of Illinois at 7-5 in Big Ten play. 

    The Illini and Spartans split the season series in 2012, with each team erasing an 0-2 deficit on the road to steal the match away from the home team with a 5-set victory. 

    SISTER SETTERS

    When Michigan State enters Huff Hall, there will be two setters on the court from the same family, Kristen and McKenna Kelsay. A senior for the Spartans, Kristen Kelsay is a four-year starter with 2,777 career assists, ranking sixth all-time in Michigan State history.

    True freshman McKenna Kelsay has appeared in four matches this season for the Illini, primarily as a serving specialist, but made one appearance at setter-against her sister on Oct. 4 at Michigan State. McKenna recorded 14 assists over the final two sets, playing across the court from her older sister for the first time.

    ACADEMIC ANNA

    Redshirt junior Anna Dorn was named CoSIDA Academic All-District for the second-straight season, after registering a 3.96 GPA along with her solid play on the court. The fourth-year student-athlete is one of just six players in District 5 to be named to the First Team, joining fellow-Big Ten members Kristen Kelsay (MSU) and Faye Adelaja (Purdue). With her second All-District honor, Dorn joins an elite group of just three other Illini who have tabbed multiple First Team honors, a feat most recently met by Director of Operations Johannah Bangert, who is the sole Illini to have three All-District honors, including First Team nominations in 2009 and 2010. With the First Team All-District selection, Dorn is automatically in the running for 2013 Academic All-American, which will be announced on Dec. 12.

    ILLINOIS STORMS BACK ON MICHIGAN-TWICE

    On Oct. 5, Illinois won the first set, 25-18, but then found itself in a 1-2 hole in Ann Arbor, as Michigan dominated sets two and three, 25-15 and 25-10. The Illini did not give up, battling to tie the match with a 25-20 win in set four, then outlasted the No. 14 Wolverines, 15-13, in the fifth, to upset the ranked Michigan squad on its home court, 3-2.

    Just over one month later, No. 17 Michigan came in to Huff Hall, and soon cruised to a 2-0 match lead with set scores of 25-18 and 25-19. The Illini refused to be swept on their home court, as they came storming out of the locker room with a new-found will to win. Illinois took the third set, 25-21, then dominated in the fourth, 25-15, and kept the momentum going in the fifth, winning 15-10 to defeat the Wolverines in five for the second time this season, both live on the Big Ten Network.

    ILLINOIS HAS NATION'S TOUGHEST SCHEDULE

    • According to the NCAA's SOS rankings, Illinois has played the nation's most difficult schedule this season. The Illini have played an NCAA-leading 13 matches against teams in the RPI top 25. 17 of their 23 matches were against teams in the top 40, and just one of their opponents is outside of the top 100.

    • Based on this week's AVCA Coaches Poll, the Illini face all of the top three teams, five of the top 10 and 14 of the top 20, with 17 of their 21 opponents at least receiving votes this week.

    • Of Illinois' 21 opponents, 19 have 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 were receiving votes at the time of competition but have not made it into the top 25.

    • Huff Hall will be the site of many great competitions, as  four top-10 teams are slated 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 a visit by No. 9 Minnesota (Nov. 30).

    • The Illini have faced a school-record 16 ranked opponents thus far and hold a 7-9 record against teams ranked at the time of competition. Illinois' highest win was at No. 11 Iowa State on Sept. 8 (3-0):

    #2 Texas - 9/14 - L, 2-3
    #4 Penn State - 10/18 - L, 2-3
    #6 Washington - 9/13 - L, 1-3
    #9 Michigan State - 10/4 - L, 0-3
    #11 Iowa State - 9/8 - W, 3-0
    #11 Nebraska - 10/30 - L, 3-0
    #12 Nebraska - 9/28 - L, 0-3
    #14 Michigan - 10/5 - W, 3-2
    #14 San Diego - 9/7 - L, 1-3
    #15 North Carolina - 9/20 - L, 0-3
    #16 Wisconsin - 10/23 - W, 3-1
    #17 Michigan - 11/6 - W, 3-2
    #17 Ohio State - 10/20 - W, 3-1
    #17 Kentucky - 8/31 - W, 3-2
    #18 Florida State - 8/30 - W, 3-0
    #20 Purdue - 10/11 - L, 1-3

    • According to this week's RPI, Illinois will face 12 of the top 25 teams, with its lowest opponent coming in at 107 (Iowa). The Illini dropped close matches to #1 Texas and #2 Penn State in five and lost to #4 Washington, 3-1.  

    • The #23 Illini have gathered five wins over top-25 opponents, in #12 Kentucky (3-2), #13 Wisconsin (3-1), #21 Florida State (3-0) and #25 Michigan (twice, 3-2), four of which were on the road. Illinois has seven wins over top-40 teams, while 10 of Illinois' 12 losses came to teams in the top 30, including five in the top 10.

    • 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.

    CAN YOU DIG IT?

    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. 

    On Oct. 27, Beltran recorded 21 digs to help lead the Illini past No. 16 Wisconsin in a key road matchup, and in doing so, became the first Illini ever to reach 2,000 career digs.  

    Illinois Career Digs
    1. 2,065 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 seventh in the nation among active players and the active Big Ten leader, ranking fifth 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. 2,065 Jennifer Beltran, ILL 2010-

    Active NCAA Career Digs
    1. 2,404 Lena Oliver, Western Mich. 2010-
    2. 2,316 Ali McCurdy, Duke 2010-
    3. 2,251 Alyssa Warren, Seton Hall 2010-
    4. 2,131 Natalie Hugglund, USC 2010
    5. 2,126 Katie Klages, Evansville 2010-
    6. 2,072 Bruna Silva, Oral Roberts 2010-
    7. 2,065 Jennifer Beltran 2010-
    8. 2,058 Morgan Cochran, W. Carolina 2010-
    2,058 Megan Baska, Arkasas St. 2010-
    10. 2,051 Leslie Scheilhaas, Morehead St. 2010-
           
    15. 1,915 Beth Yeager, IOWA 2010-
    31. 1,707 Julianne Mandolfo, OSU* 2010-
    37. 1,671 Carly Cramer, Purdue 2010-

    *First two seasons at Creighton

    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 3,229 fans, more than any season in Illini history.

    • Illinois is 4-4 at home this season, with all four losses coming to teams in the top 15. The Illini are 66-17 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* 25,831 (3,229) 2013 5-4
    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

    • As of the start of the week, Illinois ranked fifth in the nation in average attendance (3,374). Five of the top 10 teams attendance-wise are Big Ten teams: Nebraska (1), Minnesota (3), Illinois (5), Wisconsin (6), Michigan State (9).

    2013 NCAA Attendance Leaders (by average)
    Rk. Team Total Dates Avg.
    1. Nebraska 97,958 12 8,163
    2. Hawaii 110,994 15 7,400
    3. Minnesota 32,306 8 4,038
    4. Texas 27,223 7 3,889
    5. Illinois 23,621 7 3,374
    6. Wisconsin 29,701 9 3,300
    7. UNI 29,465 9 3,274
    8. Colorado State 30,266 10 3,027
    9. Michigan State 37,804 13 2,908
    10. North Carolina 31,590 11 2,872

    DOUBLING UP

    The Illini have been racking up double-doubles this season, as 6-rotation players Jocelynn Birks and Alexis Viliunas have combined for 19 on the season, along with one from Morganne Criswell. Birks has tallied nine in 2013, including a streak of four straight from Oct. 18-27, and has 22 in the her career, all with 10+ kills and digs. She recorded her first-ever 20-20 match on Oct. 5, 2012, against No. 1 Penn State, notching 23 kills and 20 digs.

    Viliunas has proved herself a strong defensive setter, tabbing 10 double-doubles (assists-digs) in 2013 and owning 12 for her career. On Oct. 27, 2013, Viliunas put on a spectacular defensive display at No. 16 Wisconsin, tabbing a career-high 20 digs against the Badgers to record the first assists-digs 20-20 since 2010. She is just the fourth setter since 2000 to register a 20-20, joining Erin Virtue (2003 vs. Akron), Lizzie Bazzetta (2005 & 2006, both vs. Iowa) and Hillary Haen (2010 vs. Michigan) on the list of talented setters.

    Criswell registered a double-double in her first start of the season at Duke, notching 14 kills and 11 digs. Additionally, Ali Stark and Jennifer Beltran both have recorded double-doubles in their careers, as Stark had three kills-digs double-doubles in 2012, and Beltran recorded 11 assists and 18 digs against Cincinnati on Sept. 15, 2012.

    CRUISING CRISWELL

    Junior outside hitter Morganne Criswell earned her way into the starting lineup on Sept. 21 after breathing life into a struggling a Illini offense the previous night at North Carolina. In her first start, Criswell led the team with 14 kills against Duke, her personal best at the time, and registered her first career double-double with 11 digs. 

    Criswell earned her stay in the starting rotation as the Illini headed into Big Ten play, where she has gone on to record six additional double-digit kill matches, including smashing 21 kills against No. 4 Penn State on Oct. 18. That match was the jumping off point for four consecutive 10+ kill matches, tying her career high which she first recorded during nonconference play in 2012 before seeing reduced playing time for the remainder of the season.

    ON THE SMALL SCREEN

    As a program, Illinois has played on television 153 times over its history. The Illini are 88-65 all-time on the small screen, including 34-39 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. Illinois did it again on Nov. 6, coming back from down 0-2 at home to knock off No. 17 Michigan in five. The Illini are now 12-17 on the Big Ten network and 2-3 on television in 2013, having lost to Nebraska twice and No. 4 Penn State at home. 

    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.

    2013 PROMOTIONS

    Military Appreciation and Girl Scout Night coincide on Saturday, Nov. 9. Following the match with Michigan State is the annual lock-in, where girls eighth grade and below can spend the night on campus and have breakfast with the team.

    When Illinois takes on Purdue on Nov. 16, the night is full of promotions. It is Team Night, Camper Reunion and Kid's Club Night. Pre-registration is required for free admission.

    The Illini close the season with Senior Night on Saturday, Nov. 30 against Minnesota.

    Additionally, on home football weekends, volleyball participates in football ticket stub redemption, giving free admission to volleyball with your ticket stub. These matches are Sept. 28, Oct. 20, Nov. 16 and Nov. 30.

    For more information and to download registration forms, visit the promotions page or contact Carrie Snyder, Director of Sports Marketing, at snyderc@illinois.edu.

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