The Daily Illini

Illinois volleyball loses to Michigan

Illinois%27+Jordyn+Poulter+sets+the+ball+during+the+match+against+Northwestern+at+Huff+Hall+on+Saturday%2C+October+15.+The+Illini+won+3-0.
Back to Article
Back to Article

Illinois volleyball loses to Michigan

Illinois' Jordyn Poulter sets the ball during the match against Northwestern at Huff Hall on Saturday, October 15. The Illini won 3-0.

Illinois' Jordyn Poulter sets the ball during the match against Northwestern at Huff Hall on Saturday, October 15. The Illini won 3-0.

Austin Yattoni

Illinois' Jordyn Poulter sets the ball during the match against Northwestern at Huff Hall on Saturday, October 15. The Illini won 3-0.

Austin Yattoni

Austin Yattoni

Illinois' Jordyn Poulter sets the ball during the match against Northwestern at Huff Hall on Saturday, October 15. The Illini won 3-0.

By Jacob Diaz, Staff writer

The Illinois volleyball team rolled into Ann Arbor, Michigan, on Friday with hopes of capitalizing on a Michigan team that was on a two game losing streak and ending their own skid.

Instead, the Illini extended their losing streak to four games.

The Illini got off to a solid lead in Set One behind setter Jordyn Poulter and outside hitter Michelle Strizak.

But after taking a seven point lead, the Wolverines began to rally behind outside hitter Carly Skodt. The Wolverines managed to cut the Illini lead all the way down and tie the set at 23, but kills from Strizak and Katie Stadick closed the set out for the Illini.

Set Two began where Set One left off, hotly contested, but with the edge to the Wolverines. Michigan’s aggressive serve caused lots of problems for the Illini, and the Wolverines finished with 11 aces.

“They did a really good job of moving (their serve) short and long,” Poulter said. “Which meshed really with their offense really well.”

While the Illini continued to hit for a fairly high percentage and block well, Michigan’s attack proved to be too much for the Illini defense, and the Wolverines won the second set.

The next two sets proved to be more of the same, as the Illini battled valiantly, but in the end were not strong enough to stop the Wolverines, who served their way to a 3-1 match win. No set in the match was decided by more than four points, proving that the two teams were evenly matched, but that only made it more difficult for the Illini to swallow after the final whistle sounded.

“It’s always hard when your that close,” Poulter said. “Knowing that if you had done one thing different at one point the outcome might have been different. At the same time, we’re trying to find our competitive identity, and being in close sets like that pushes us to find that, and makes us better.”

Freshman Jacqueline Quade, who has been one of Illinois’ most consistent attacking threats this season, failed to make an impact again. The outside hitter has been a non-factor in all four of the Illini’s losses during their current losing run, and has not recorded ten kills in a match since their Oct. 12 victory over Michigan St.

On the other hand, opposite hitter Naya Crittenden continued her solid play for the Illini, recording 13 kills on 31 swings. The senior was very streaky during the first half of the season, sometimes going cold for a few matches at a time before heating up and becoming a threat.

Strizak also had a good night, finishing with a match-high 17 kills at a .300 clip. Strizak and other attackers have put in solid performances during the losing streak. Part of this is the continued strong play of sophomore setter Jordyn Poulter. Poulter finished the night with 44 assists.

“We know that we are good enough to score against anyone,” Strizak said. “We just have to find a way to score on a consistent basis. We’re not doing that right now.”

At the end of the night, the Illini were close, and they know it.

“I think they made some plays in crucial moments that just gave them that extra point they needed in the set,” Poulter said.

As close as they were, the Illini find themselves on a four game losing streak with only seven games to go.

“Every loss is a bad loss to me,” Strizak said. “It doesn’t matter how close it is, we need to win.”

[email protected]

@Jacob_Diaz31

Leave a Comment