Hillary Haen leads the Big Ten in assists.
Illini head to Ohio State, Penn State
With just six matches and three weeks remaining in the Big Ten season, Illinois (12-2) takes a one-match lead over Penn State (11-3) for first place in the standings. Michigan is two matches back at 10-4. Illinois travels to Ohio State (7-7) and Penn State this weekend.
TV: Satuday's match will be shown live on the Big Ten Network with Mike Wolf and Audrey Flaugh on the call.
Radio: Both matches will be carried live on WDWS-AM 1400 and fightingillini.com with Dave Loane and Matt Wille on the call.
Illini end Penn State's 65-match Big Ten Winning Streak
In a thrilling five-set match on Sept. 24, Illinois knocked off Penn State at Huff Hall, ending Penn State's 65-match Big Ten winning streak. The Lions had not lost since Nov. 8, 2006 in the conference. Illinois trailed at a few points during the match, dropping the first set. PSU led 13-11 and 14-13 in the final set before a pair of kills from both Colleen Ward and Laura DeBruler brought Illinois closer The victory was the just seventh for Illinois over Penn State in 41 tries and the first since 2003.
Colleen Ward led the Illini with 16 kills in that match. Johannah Bangert had 11 kills with no errors in 18 swings for a .611 attack percentage. Bangert also was in on nine of Illinois' 12 team blocks.
Penn State series notes:
Illinois has just one victory in 20 tries at Penn State that came in five sets in 1995. The Illini have not won a set since then. The Lions lead the all-time series 34-7.
Penn State enters the match riding an eight-match winning streak. Penn State has lost just three sets in that time.
The Lions carry a big block, ranking fourth in the nation in that department at 2.97 per set and rank third nationally in hitting percentage at .306.
Ohio State series notes:
The Buckeyes lead the all-time series 36-31, but the Illini have won five straight in the series.
The Illini defeated Ohio State 25-23, 25-9, 25-22 earlier this season at Huff Hall behind 14 kills from Colleen Ward.
Illinois announces on-line ticket sale
For the second time this season, Illinois is opening its on-line ticket option to a volleyball match as the regular season home finale vs. Minnesota will be sold on-line as well as at the athletic ticket office. Earlier this year vs. Penn State, Illinois sold tickets in advance and had 4,141 fans, the first sellout since 1992.
The special event, titled "Senior Sendoff" is to honor graduating seniors Johannah Bangert, Laura DeBruler, Hillary Haen and Nicole Kump, who came to Illinois as the No. 6 ranked recruiting class and helped raise the bar of success for the Illinois program.
Bangert moving up Big Ten blocks lists
Johannah Bangert, who became Illinois' all-time blocks leader now is moving up a pair of Big Ten lists. With her six blocks vs. Michigan State, Bangert becomes just the 10th player in conference history with at least 600 blocks, totaling now 607. Bangert has 567 career block assists, just 45 shy of the Big Ten record of 612 held by Heather Dodaro of Wisconsin
Bangert holds the conference single-season block assist record when she tallied 195 during the 2008 season. Her 168 blocks in 2009 are seventh best.
Illinois building home edge: Illinois is averaging 2,238 fans per match in 11 matches thus far. The Illini are on pace for their best home attendance year since averaging 2,657 in 1993 and 3,098 in 1992, both of which led the nation those years. Illinois has won 21 straight at home, two shy of the Huff Hall record of 22 and
The Illini had its first sellout since 1992 when 4,141 saw Illinois top Penn State in five sets on Sept. 24. The Illini also drew 3,127 for the Northwestern match on Oct. 2, also a five-set victory. That marked the first time since 1993 the Illini have drawn more than 3,000 for match twice in the same season.
Illinois is 10-0 at home this year and 37-4 in front of the home crowd the past three years combined. Two of the losses have come to No. 1 Penn State.
In the years that Illinois has qualified for the NCAA Tournament, Illinois has a 230-45 home record (.836).
Illinois reversing five-set fortunes
Illinois lost its first two five-set matches of the season, both after taking the first two sets, falling to Cincinnati and No. 7 Nebraska. Since then, the Illini have rattled off five straight victories in matches that have gone the distance, defeating No. 2 Penn State, No. 25 Northwestern, Michigan State, No. 20 Minnesota, and No. 15 Michigan.
Of the 12 league victories, only four have come in straight sets
DeBruler a finalist for Lowe's Senior CLASS
Illinois senior Laura DeBruler is one of 10 finalists for the Lowe's Senior CLASS Award for volleyball. The honor is given to a student-athlete who excels both on and off the court. To be eligible for the award, a student-athlete must be classified as an NCAA Division I senior and have notable achievements in four areas of excellence - community, classroom, character and competition.
An acronym for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School®, the Lowe's Senior CLASS Award focuses on the total student-athlete and encourages students to use their platform in athletics to make a positive impact as leaders in their communities.
The finalists were chosen by a media committee from the list of 30 candidates that was announced in August. Nationwide fan voting begins immediately to determine the winner. Fans are encouraged to vote via the Lowe's Senior CLASS Award website through November 23. Fan votes will be combined with media and coaches votes to determine the winner.
Lowe's will announce the Senior CLASS Award® winner during the 2010 NCAA Division I Women's Volleyball Championship in Kansas City in mid-December.
Illinois racking up Big Ten Player of the Week honors
Six different Illinois players have claimed nine different weekly Big Ten honors.
Jennifer Bonilla has been named Big Ten Freshman of the Week four times -- on Sept. 6, Oct. 4, Oct. 18 and Oct. 25.
Three Illinois players have been named Player of the Week -- Michelle Bartsch on Sept. 6; Colleen Ward on Sept. 27; and Laura DeBruler on Oct. 4
Hillary Haen earned Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week on Aug. 30 while Johannah Bangert claimed the award on Nov. 1.
Game Time Changes: The final home match of the season vs. Minnesota on Nov. 20 has been moved to 4:30 pm to accomodate live television from the Big Ten Network. The match at Penn State has moved to 5 pm central and will also be on the Big Ten Network.
Illinois will appear on television at least three more times in 2010. The Illini will make live appearances on the BTN and Penn State (Nov. 13) and at home vs. Wisconsin (Nov. 3) and Minnesota (Nov. 20). The Nov. 19 match vs. Iowa will be live on bigtennetwork.com.
Defeating top-five teams: Illinois now has five victories in school history over top-five opponents with three of those five now coming on the road.
The win over Penn State gives Illinois two wins over top-five teams in the same season for the first time in school history. The Illini defeated No. 2 Texas in Austin on Sept. 3 as well as No. 2 Penn State on Sept. 24. Prior to the win over Texas, the last top-five win came on Sept. 11, 2004, a five-set victory over No. 1 USC. The 16th-ranked Illini defeated No. 3 Hawaii on the island in three sets on Nov. 4, 1992, and eighth-ranked Illinois defeated No. 4 Nebraska in Lincoln in five sets on Nov. 11, 1989.
Illinois falls to ninth in poll
Illinois fell three spots to ninth in the AVCA Coaches poll. Illinois has been in the top 10 all season, topping at No. 3 on Sept. 6 Opponents in the rankings are Nebraska (5), Texas (7) Penn St. (8), Michigan (16), Dayton (17), Cincinnati (19), Minnesota (22) and Northwestern (24).
Bonilla on pace to break Illinois single-season digs record
Freshman libero Jennifer Bonilla has 461 digs on the season, which already is seventh-best in a single-season in school history and she is on pace to break the single-season digs mark of 564 held by Ashley Edinger