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

Illini volleyball batters Buckeyes in 5-set home victory

Jack Larson
Graduate middle blocker Kennedy Collins digs an Ohio State serve in the second set on Wednesday.

Illinois volleyball was victorious in Huff Hall on Wednesday night over Ohio State.

Seeking revenge for last month’s loss in Columbus, the Illini triumphed to a 15-12 record with 10 wins and seven losses in the Big Ten. The Buckeyes fell to 10-16, 7-10 against conference opponents. Illinois shined at the service line in both matches against Ohio State with a season-high 12 ace performances. In a tight match last night, the Illini hit for 66 kills and a .291 average, compared to the Buckeyes’ 63 and .246.

Leading offensively for the Illini was none other than senior outside hitter Raina Terry with 27 kills, one of her highest marks this season. Both adding double-digit kills were fifth-year senior outside hitter Jessica Nunge with 13 and junior outside hitter Kayla Burbage with 11. Sophomore setter Brooke Mosher served a career-high seven aces alongside 50 assists and 16 digs to record her 15th career double-double.

“Our defense and passing was amazing, hitters were on, so everything was going really well,” Mosher said. “Credit to the passers and defense, they allowed me to run an offense tonight.”

The match began in a tough battle and tight score that reached seven ties before the media break where Ohio State led 15-14. Illinois came back with a 4-0 run featuring a kill and ace from Mosher that forced a Buckeye timeout. Consecutive aces followed from Mosher, surging the Illini to a 20-16 lead. Kills from Terry finished out the first set win for Illinois, 25-18.

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    Set two began in a struggle for the lead until Nunge’s kill off the block triggered a 4-0 run to pressure an Ohio State timeout, Illinois up 12-9. The Buckeyes fought back to tie the score at 12, 14, 15, 16 and 21, when Illinois used its own timeout. Terry and Nunge hit kills to give the Illini set point, but the Buckeyes called their second timeout and responded with a 3-0 run to win the set, 26-24.

    Attacking with momentum, Ohio State dominated early in the third set and took a 7-1 lead when Illinois called a timeout. The Illini worked back to a five-point deficit after Burbage and freshman middle blocker Cari Bohm combined for a block but then gave up a 3-0 Buckeye run to trail 9-17. A kill and back-to-back aces from Terry formed a 3-0 Illini run to come within four points, but the rally was not enough, as the Buckeyes won 25-20 in the third set.

    Neither team showed weakness as the fourth set commenced with six even scores before the Illini used a timeout at an 11-11 tie. Nunge landed two kills to generate a 3-0 run and force a timeout from Ohio State. Laying out for multiple digs, Barnes set up another kill from Nunge with the Illini leading 15-11. Illinois grew its lead to seven in a run with a Mosher ace between kills from Burbage when Ohio State used its second timeout. Resurging with a 4-0 run, the Buckeyes forced a timeout from the home team, but the Illini regrouped with a 4-1 rally highlighted by back-to-back Burbage kills. Terry terminated the ball to finish off the frame in a 25-19 win and force a fifth set.

    Firing top-spin strikes from the service line, Mosher hit three straight aces to open the fifth set. Graduate student middle blocker Kennedy Collins roofed Ohio State’s attack twice before Mosher set her up for a kill off the Buckeye block. Terry followed it up with a spike, and Ohio State called a timeout when Illinois led 7-3. Points were traded before the teams switched sides, and then Terry activated a 5-0 Illini run to force Ohio State’s second timeout. Mosher caught the Buckeye front three off guard with a strategic set over the net, then Nunge spiked an outside kill and Mosher slammed the ball straight down to certify a 15-6 Illini win in the decisive set.

    “Our backs were against the wall,” said head coach Chris Tamas. “We did a nice job of responding and hit some really nice serves, played better defense and made some nice swings down the stretch.”

    Illinois volleyball plays in Huff Hall again on Saturday at 6 p.m. versus Michigan.


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