Illinois volleyball hosts another top-10 match against No. 9 Minnesota

By Adam Rosen, Staff Writer

Illinois volleyball (11-12, 6-7) enters Sunday coming off a loss to No. 3 Wisconsin via a straight sweep. The Illini host the No. 9 Minnesota Golden Gophers (14-7, 9-4) in another season rematch. 

The Illini will look to avoid another sweep at the hands of the Gophers, but to do so they will have to improve their hitting performance against the Badgers.

Illinois’ worst two hitting percentages of the season both have come versus Wisconsin, with .139 a month ago in Madison, and .065 at home on Thursday. In their mid-October loss to Minnesota however, the Illini posted a .239 hitting percentage, their ninth-best of the season.

On a brighter note, the team has continued to work on their floor defense each week in practice. Head coach Chris Tamas spoke about that increased focus on defense despite Thursday’s loss to Wisconsin. 

“I thought we did great tonight in that regard,” Tamas said. “Just based on where we have been the last couple of weeks. (Based on) what we saw tonight, I thought it was pretty close to night and day, I think we are getting better each week.”

Tamas also added that the team must move forward and take the good, while also trying to take out the bad, regardless of what caused the bad. 

The Gophers hold a very tight 43-40-1 record all-time against the Illini. However, Minnesota has won the last seven, and 11 of the last 12 against Illinois. 

The Illini, while the record has not fully shown the effort and work put in, have continuously come close in each set. They will look to push forward and add another signature win on Sunday at 1 p.m. against the Gophers.

 

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