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The Daily Illini

Illinois men’s club volleyball takes fifth in Illini 16 Tournament

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A student on the Illinois men's club volleyball team, sets the ball at practice in Kenney Gym Annex in Urbana.

A student on the Illinois men's club volleyball team, sets the ball at practice in Kenney Gym Annex in Urbana.

A student on the Illinois men's club volleyball team, sets the ball at practice in Kenney Gym Annex in Urbana.

Brian Binzy, Contributing writer

After taking second in their pool, the Illinois men’s club volleyball team put themselves in the position for the championship game.

The Illini proved they were among the best teams at the Activities and Recreation Center on Saturday, definitively beating Illinois State and splitting games against Indiana and St. Louis in pool play behind a strong front line and scrappy defensive efforts.

Illinois played Iowa State — a team that steamrolled their pool — to begin its elimination bracket, winning all six of their sets by a combined 58 points and never letting another team reach 20 points.

However, the Illini won the first game 25-22 behind a late game ace and block by senior outside hitter and German native Kennet Peretzke.

That was the last time the Illini would end on top of Iowa State, as they dropped the next two sets, 25-16, then 19-17 in a thrilling final game that had the whole gym watching the dramatic finish.

Both sides had multiple game points, but it was the Cyclones that finally were able to put the Illini away.

Late in the third game there were long stops in play as both teams appealed to the referee to change calls made in favor of the other team. The refs were players from teams that were not active.

“I don’t want to say they were decisive,” senior right side hitter Jimmy McCabe said. “They’re all college students, so you can’t blame them, they’re not perfect. I don’t think they changed the outcome.”

Because of the issues, the Illini lost focus and allowed the Cyclones to rally from the third game deficit.

“We kind of got into our own heads; we were worried about what the refs were calling and what was going on on the other side of the net,” McCabe said.

The Illini suffered an early exit from their host tournament and tied for fifth with three other teams.

McCabe wasn’t crushed by the loss and was optimistic about the team’s chances to improve.

“We’ve got to work on being more prepared, focusing on what we are doing,” McCabe said.

The men’s club volleyball team next plays at the Hardwood Classic Tournament at Michigan State on Nov. 5th and 6th.

brianb2@dailyillini.com

@binzy_20

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