Volleyball struggles with offense in losses


Adam Babcock The Daily Illini Illinois’ Beth Vrdsky winds up for a serve during the match against Michigan State, Saturday, October 28, 2006 at Huff Hall. Illinois lost to Michigan State in three games, 30-26, 30-16, 30-22.

By Lucas Deal

The Illinois volleyball team was unable to get its offense going over the weekend, and as a result, the Illini were beaten in a pair of matches at No. 13 Minnesota and No. 10 Wisconsin.

The losses drop the Illini to 14-12 overall and 5-11 in the Big Ten. The team has four games remaining in the regular season.

Illinois’ offense struggled against the strong blocking of the Golden Gophers and the Badgers all weekend, hitting .157 against Minnesota and .208 versus Wisconsin.

The Illini opened the weekend at Minnesota and despite hanging tough in all three games, fell 30-22, 30-24 and 30-23.

In the first game, the Illini fell behind early 5-1 and despite rallying to tie the game, they were unable to establish a solid lead and the Gophers won the game.

Get The Daily Illini in your inbox!

  • Catch the latest on University of Illinois news, sports, and more. Delivered every weekday.
  • Stay up to date on all things Illini sports. Delivered every Monday.
This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.
Thank you for subscribing!

The second game turned out to be more of the same as the Illini and Gophers again battled back and forth before Minnesota pulled out the win.

Minnesota (19-7, 13-3) hit .368 in game three to finish off the Illini.

Illinois had no players reach double figures in kills in the game and were led by eight kills apiece from Kylie McCulley, Stefanie Alde and Meghan Macdonald. Ashley Edinger had 15 digs in the match.

On Saturday, the Illini took game two from Wisconsin but was beaten handily in the other three, falling in the end 30-16, 28-30, 30-22 and 30-19.

Vicki Brown had 13 kills to lead the Illini attack while Wisconsin was paced by 18 kills and a .400 hitting percentage from Brittney Dolgner.

Illini head coach Don Hardin thought his team’s offense troubles really affected its performance for the weekend, but it was their passing and serve receive that cost them against the Badgers.

“The story of (Saturday) was our passing,” he said. “It was contagious. We started to have trouble on serve receive and passing problems just continued from there.”

With this weekend’s losses, the Illini must win out to have any chance at advancing to the NCAA Tournament. Hardin has said in recent weeks that he believed 20 wins would have made his team a lock for the NCAA Tourney, but with 20 wins no longer possible the Illini must win out and hope for the best.

The team will return to Huff Hall this weekend for its final two home matches of the season against Indiana and Purdue. Both matches will start at 7 p.m.