The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

Illinois volleyball set to play Notre Dame, Oklahoma amid 2-game win streak

The Daily Illini Photo File
The Illini share some team energy amongst themselves on Sept. 23, 2022 against Marlyand. The Illini will face Notre Dame and Oklahoma in their upcoming matches.

Illinois volleyball prepares to play against Notre Dame this coming Thursday at 6 p.m. and Oklahoma on Friday at 5 p.m. in South Bend, Indiana.

The history between these three programs is quite dated, with Illinois’ most recent meeting with Notre Dame being a loss in 1982, while a 1988 victory over Oklahoma marks the last time those two met. The Illini are hoping to go two for two in these matchups this coming week.

Through five matches, Illinois boasts a record of 4-1 under the guidance of head coach Chris Tamas. Notre Dame is 2-2 this season with Thursday’s match serving as the Fighting Irish’s home opener and is led by head coach Salima Rockwell. Additionally, Oklahoma is 4-1 this year with the lone loss coming at Oregon State and is led by head coach Aaron Mansfield.

Illinois is currently on a two-match win streak thanks to a combination of experienced upperclassmen and spry underclassmen. The Illini carry a squad of 16 student-athletes for the 2023 season, including eight letter winners from 2022 and six newcomers.

Middle Kennedy Collins and Columbia-transfer libero Vanessa Pan are the team’s graduate students. Outside hitter Jessica Nunge serves as the only fifth year on the team, while outside hitter Raina Terry comes in as the only senior on the roster. Hitter Kayla Burbage and libero Caroline Barnes come into the season as juniors.

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    Underclassmen include redshirt sophomores middle Sarah Bingham and setter Brooke Mosher. New addition libero Maddie Llewellyn comes in as a sophomore and the Illini’s redshirt freshmen are middle Cari Bohm, setter Bianca May and outside hitter Sophie Stephenson. Lastly, libero Lily Barry, outside hitter Taylor de Boer, middle Gabby Dean and setter Maya Imoto-Eakin round out the squad as the true freshmen.

    Tamas enters his seventh season as the head coach of the Illinois volleyball program in 2023 after being named to the position in February 2017. Tamas is also the eighth head coach in Illinois history. Under Tamas’ leadership, the team has had many successful seasons and feats.

    This 2023 volleyball season schedule features 10 nonconference matches with a pair of opponents from last year’s NCAA tournament. The Illini will face Big Ten opponents in 20 matches, including home and home series with Purdue, Ohio State and Wisconsin — three NCAA tournament teams from a season ago.

    After back-to-back wins against Illinois State and UIC, Illinois is ready to dominate Notre Dame and Oklahoma later this week in Indiana to continue its great start to the season.


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