Illini volleyball team to test new lineup during Flyer Classic

By Meghan Montemurro

The Illini volleyball team will have its first test of the season this weekend as it travels to Ohio for the Dayton Flyer Classic.

Illinois will play Bowling Green, Indiana-Purdue University Fort Wayne and the University of Dayton in the tournament. The Illini have never faced Bowling Green or IPFW and are 2-2 all time versus Dayton.

Senior outside hitter Stefanie Alde said the team isn’t shying away from the challenging competition.

“We are happy that we can play some tough teams,” Alde said. “The key will be everyone bringing their ‘A’ game.”

A strong start is needed for the Illini as they look to duplicate last season’s non-conference record of 9-1. With their sights set on winning the tournament, Alde said it is there for the taking.

“It’s not going to be easy,” she said. “We think we can do it, though, and we’ve been working hard in practice.”

Head coach Don Hardin said Dayton will pose a challenge after winning the Atlantic 10 title last season. Additionally, Dayton has lost only one starter to graduation. The Illini will be testing a new lineup featuring two setters in order to analyze the strengths and weaknesses before conference play begins.

“It allows us to always run a setter out from the back row,” Hardin said. “That means we always have three hitters in the front row, and that allows us to keep the opposing blocks from capitalizing.”