Illini still going strong despite midterm stress



By Anthony Zilis

Every student has to deal with midterms. Nobody likes to think about them, but they are ever-lingering. Then again, most students don’t have the added stress of playing volleyball on the weekend against Big Ten opponents, or having to travel hundreds of miles in a two-day span.

“This is a tough time, we’re playing these 28-30 match schedules and midterm exams hit right now in the schedule,” said Illinois volleyball coach Don Hardin.

“We have, probably, three players that were up studying intensely this week, and I know it’s the same for a lot of schools and this is a time when a lot of people get a little flat and their performances are off and crazy things happen.”

The balance a student-athlete has to maintain is easily overlooked. It’s difficult to grasp that the players on the No. 16-ranked volleyball team in the nation take classes and tests, and write papers and lab reports just like every other student.

“For me, I try to do as much as I can as early as possible, studying and stuff. If I can study for a test a week, a couple weeks before and trying to even it out instead of bulking it up on one night,” said left outside hitter Laura DeBruler, sophomore in AHS.

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It would be logical to think that being one of the top outside hitters in the nation and a good student would be overly stressful for DeBruler. But these athletes, who mostly receive scholarships, aren’t asking for sympathy.

“Its tough, but that’s just how being a student-athlete is, its something that we all have to deal with and, you know, sometimes you have an easier week and sometimes you don’t,” DeBruler said. “It’s just, being able to manage that I think its just a part of being an athlete.”

Silent Killers

Lost in the excitement of sweeping the weekend with a win over Ohio State was a scintillating but quirky ending to Friday night’s Illini victory against Michigan.

The final set featured kills by setter Lizzie Bazzetta and libero Ashley Edinger. Bazzetta has four kills on the season and Edinger has three.

“It shows how much fight we have, that little extra, tiny little bend that it takes to get a ball up,” Edinger said. “We just fought so hard and its just awesome to see us do that.”

Bartsch serving it up

Michelle Bartsch served for the first time this season in Friday’s match and at critical points. Bartsch served at 13-12 in the final set before serving into the net for an error to make the score 13-14.

The freshman right outside hitter finished with two service errors and one ace. She was named Best Server at the 2008 North, Central America and Caribbean Championships.

“I love serving, its one of my favorite things to do, but it was kind of nerve racking, I’m not going to lie, going up there and serving like that but I’ll be more consistent next time.”