No. 11 Oregon volleyball’s latest victim at State Farm Illini Classic

By Anthony Zilis

Heading into the third set in Saturday night’s match versus No. 11 Oregon, the Illinois volleyball team was not only down two sets, but they had not led in either.

Call it a good speech by Illini head coach Don Hardin, or call it fatigue by the Ducks, who had just finished a game against North Carolina, but the Illini came out a different team after the break.

In the third set, the Illini never trailed, using a new-found cohesiveness that was absent in the first two sets. It looked all for naught, though, as the Illini trailed 19-14 in the fourth set, falling back into the chaotic style of play that had hurt the team in the first two sets.

But Illinois looked in control the rest of the match, using an 11-2 run to win the fourth set and went on to win the tie-breaking set 15-13.

Sophomore Laura Debruler led the Illini with 31 kills, 22 coming in the final three sets, and had 12 digs. Ashley Edinger had 20 digs, while Hillary Haen led the team in assists with 30

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Oregon was the second ranked team the Illini beat Saturday after defeating No. 23 New Mexico State earlier in the day.