Notes: Illini Close Out Season at Northwestern, Iowa
Nov. 20, 2012
Northwestern Wildcats (16-13, 5-13 Big Ten)
Iowa Hawkeyes (10-21, 2-16 Big Ten)
ILLINI vs. THE WILDCATS
ILLINI vs. THE HAWKEYES
LAST TIME OUT
BIRKS EARNS TWO BIG TEN FRESHMAN OF THE WEEK HONORS IN NOVEMBER
Birks earned her second honor in three weeks on Nov. 19, after averaging 5.22 kills per set against Michigan and Michigan State. She put up 22 kills and four blocks, two solo, against MSU, then registered a career-high 25 kills to go along with 16 digs and two aces against Michigan—while splitting time with Tayler Onion. Since the Big Ten began awarding Freshman of the Week in 2009, Birks is just the second Illini to earn at least three of the award, with Jennifer Beltran picking up four in 2010.
The 12 five-setters sets a new Illinois program record, topping the 2000 season when the Illini went 7-4 in 11 five-setters. The last time the Illini had double-digit 5-set matches was in 2007, when Illinois went 1-9 in the tie-breaking set. Illinois' record for 5-set wins in a season is seven, set in 2000 and matched in 2011 (7-0). The Illini's nine 5-set losses in 2007 were the most in school history.
ILLINOIS HAS SECOND-MOST WELL-ATTENDED SEASON
• 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.
• Illinois played in front of over 2,000 fans in 21 of the 28 matches this season, including all 12 home matches. The Illini dazzled 3,000+ fans on seven occasions, five at home, and played in front of a crowd of 5,121 at Minnesota on Oct. 28.
• The Illini rank eighth in the nation in home attendance, with an average of 2,809 fans per match.
• Six of the top 10 teams attendance-wise are members of the Big Ten in Nebraska (2), Minnesota (3), Wisconsin (4), Penn State (5), Illinois (8) and Purdue (9).
• Illinois was 16-1 at home in 2011 and is 62-13 in front of the home crowd since the start of 2008. 11 of the 13 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.
ILLINOIS HAS FORMIDABLE SCHEDULE
• The schedule features 14 matches against teams ranked in this week’s top 25, having already played 15 matches against teams that were ranked at the time of the match. Those currently-ranked opponents are No. 1 Penn State, No. 3 Texas, No. 9 Louisville, No. 10 Nebraska, No. 11 Minnesota, No. 13 Dayton, No. 14 Ohio State, No. 18 Iowa State and No. 22 Purdue. Additionally three of the Illini's opponents received votes in the most recent poll, in Michigan State (28th), Pepperdine (31st) and MIchigan (33rd).
• The Illini faced at least one ranked opponent in each of the first 12 weeks of the season. This past weekend marked the first time that the Orange and Blue did not face a ranked opponent, although both teams did receive votes. The Illini will close out the season at unranked Northwestern and Iowa.
• The Illini's schedule features four of the top five teams in the RPI, in #2 Penn State, #3 Texas, #4 Louisville and #5 Nebraska. The Illini went 1-4 against them, with a win at #3 Texas.
• Of Illinois' 18 opponents, five are in the RPI top 10, eight in the top 25, and 13 in the top 50. #177 UCF is the Illini's only non-conference opponent outside of the top 100.
• 15 of Illinois' 16 losses have come to teams in the RPI top 35, and five of the Illini's 12 wins were over top 50 teams, including a 3-2 victory at #3 Texas.