Illinois volleyball looks to bounce back at Maryland

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Illinois volleyball looks to bounce back at Maryland

Illinois' Naya Crittenden celebrates a point during the game against Nebraska on 9-28-16.  The Illini lost 0-3.

Illinois' Naya Crittenden celebrates a point during the game against Nebraska on 9-28-16. The Illini lost 0-3.

Illinois' Naya Crittenden celebrates a point during the game against Nebraska on 9-28-16. The Illini lost 0-3.

Illinois' Naya Crittenden celebrates a point during the game against Nebraska on 9-28-16. The Illini lost 0-3.

By Jacob Diaz, Staff writer

The Illinois volleyball team will look to get back on track Sunday as they travel to College Park, Maryland, to take on Maryland.

This is the Illini’s first match since they lost their seven-game winning streak Wednesday night against No.1 Nebraska.

Maryland has lost four in a row, and comes in with an 8-7 overall record. The Terrapins have yet to beat a ranked opponent in five tries, but will have a chance against the No. 24 Illini Sunday.

Terrapins’ Gia Milana leads the team in kills with 3.76 per set.

Middle blocker Ashlyn MacGregor will also be a threat to the Illini. The senior averages 1.80 blocks per set, one of the highest marks in the Big Ten. She also leads the team in hitting percentage.

Freshman Jacqueline Quade leads the Illini with 3.20 kills per set. Sophomore middle blocker Ali Bastianelli has also been an integral piece for the Illini on both sides of the ball, and she leads the Big Ten with 1.82 blocks per set.

While the Illini struggled on both sides of the ball against Nebraska, head coach Kevin Hambly said the team played its best when its servers forced the Huskers out of its system.

“We were more aggressive serving in this match than we have been, and that needs to continue,” Hambly said.

Hambly also wants to see senior Naya Crittenden bounce back after a tough game against the Huskers. Crittenden hit for a negative percentage in Wednesday night’s match, while her teammates hit for higher percentages than usual.

“If Naya has a better match, maybe we win a couple of these sets,” Hambly said after the match. “And that’s not putting it all on Naya. They had a good gameplan against her. Her and Jordyn’s connection just wasn’t there. Naya will probably play great against Maryland though. She’s bounced back really well, and we have to make sure that she can.”

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