Illinois volleyball struggles against No. 11 Minnesota, falls in three sets


Sydney Laput

Graduate student Kylie Bruder prepares to serve a ball during Illinois’ match against Nebraska on Thursday. The No. 25 Illini fell to the No. 11 Minnesota Golden Gophers, 3-0, at Huff Hall on Saturday night.

By Jackson Janes, Sports Editor

No. 25 Illinois lost in straight sets for the second consecutive match, this time to No. 11 Minnesota, 3-0 (22-25, 16-25, 14-25).

Junior middle blocker Kennedy Collins led the Illini with a team-high 10 kills and one block, while sophomore outside hitter Raina Terry registered nine kills and three aces in the 3-0 loss.

The first set was the closest of the three, with Illinois climbing out to an early 7-4 lead via kills from Terry, graduate student Megan Cooney and Collins, a block from Collins and aces from both Terry and senior libero Taylor Kuper.

With a total of six lead changes and nine ties during the set, neither team was able to take a big lead. Illinois’ 15-11 lead was the largest of the frame, though a 6-0 Minnesota run turned the four-point advantage into a two-point deficit.

The Illini eventually took a late 22-21 lead, but the Golden Gophers closed the set on a 4-0 run to take a 1-0 advantage into the second set.

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!

Collins’ five kills were a team high in the first frame, while Illinois also recorded four aces — two from Terry, one from Kuper and one from graduate student Kylie Bruder — and three total blocks.

“The first set today we were back and forth and just gave up a few there at the end,” said head coach Chris Tamas. “I think whenever you play these good teams, it’s gonna teach you who you’re about and what you need to work on. I know we’re doing a lot of good things, but we need to work on just being a little more consistent and making sure we’re taking care of some of the smaller things.”

The second set saw Minnesota jump out to a commanding 11-4 lead, and Illinois was never able to get back in it. The Illini cut their deficit to as few as two points, but a string of successful Golden Gopher challenges crushed the Illini’s momentum.

Once again, Minnesota closed out the set on a 4-0 run, taking a commanding 2-0 lead into the third set.

The visiting Golden Gophers didn’t need much time to take a big early lead in the third set, and aided by a 7-0 run, they took a 12-4 lead.

From that point, Illinois reduced its deficit to as small as six points, with Minnesota winning the set, 25-14, and the match, 3-0.

Despite the team only registering four total blocks on the night, Collins praised the team’s presence at the net.

“I know blocking was huge for us in this match, just because we knew they had great hitters like (Stephanie) Samedy, so we did focus a lot on that this week,” Collins said. “I do think our blocking is getting better, and that just helps our back-row defense as well.”

Illinois falls to 16-9 overall and 8-6 in conference play and returns to action next weekend with matches against Indiana on Friday night and No. 7 Ohio State on Sunday afternoon.



[email protected]