Illinois volleyball falls below .500, gets swept by No. 6 Ohio State

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Sydney Laput

Outside Hitter/Right Side Jessica Nunge jumps towards the ball to an attempt a spike against Nebraska on Nov. 4. Jessica Nunge played on the court for the first time since non-conference however, the Illini still suffered a defeat from Ohio State on Wednesday.

By Adam Rosen, Staff Writer

Illinois volleyball (9-10, 4-5) continued its conference schedule with a road trip to Columbus, Ohio against the No. 6 Ohio State Buckeyes (12-5, 8-1). The Illini fell far short of its first ranked win of the season, as the Illini were swept in Columbus.

Without hesitation, the Buckeyes went on the attack, feeding off the energy at home and capitalizing on sloppy play by the Illini, as they won the set handily 25-10. The Illini struggled to do much on the attack totaling seven attack errors and a -.182 hitting percentage, while the Buckeyes made it look easy, racking up 14 kills to Illinois’ three. 

Walking to the opposite side of the court, the Illini bench was full of intensity as they looked to rebound from one of the ugliest sets of their season thus far. The Illini fought as hard as they could, but their efforts came up short as the Buckeyes took the set 25-23. The set featured the much-awaited return of senior outside hitter Jessica Nunge for the first time since non-conference play, as she recorded a service ace on her first point back.

The Illini needed to build off their effort from set two, but ended up falling short in the end again. The Illini were doubled up in kills through two sets, 31-15, and their hitting percentage was .052 to the Buckeyes’ .413. Although the team began to heat up and fix mistakes, the Illini’s valiant comeback effort fell short again, as they lost 25-23, getting swept by the Buckeyes.

Junior outside hitter Raina Terry once again had a standout performance for the Illini, tallying 15 kills. Head coach Chris Tamas spoke about how proud of the team he was despite the loss. 

“It’s possible to be proud of what you’re doing, but at the same time disappointed,” Tamas said. “That’s where we continue to be. We’ve just got a lot of players that aren’t playing their own positions and we’re still scrapping, staying in sets and giving ourselves a chance to win.”

The Illini fall below .500 on the season and in the Big Ten, as they face their toughest opponent yet on Saturday at Huff Hall, in the vaunted No. 3 Nebraska Cornhuskers.

 

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