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This Week in Illinois Athletics: Illini Volleyball sweep, Soccer streak snapped

The Fighting Illini volleyball swept two Big Ten foes, soccer's four-game win streak was snapped, and more.

Jocelynn Birks hits a kill against Maryland at Huff Hall.
Jocelynn Birks hits a kill against Maryland at Huff Hall.
Courtesy of Illinois Athletics

The Fighting Illini gave Maryland and Rutgers a rude welcome to Huff Hall with 3-0 wins, the soccer team's four-game win streak was snapped, and the cross-country teams competed in Minnesota.


The No. 16 Illini (10-3, 2-0) dropped the second game in the Blue Raider Bash and have not looked back, rattling off six straight victories, including 3-0 victories over Maryland (25-13, 25-21, 25-17) and Rutgers (25-15, 25-15, 25-15) at Huff Hall this week.

Jocelynn Birks hit 15 kills and added 10 digs for her fifth straight double-double on the season Friday night against Maryland. Ali Stark had eight kills and Morganne Criswell knocked in seven. Allison Palmer led the Illni with 16 assists, and Alexis Villunas had a double-double with 14 assist and 10 digs. Brandi Donnelly led the defense with 12 digs.

Liz Mahon hit 13 kills, while Birks had 12 and Criswell added 10 Saturday night against Rutgers. Villunas recorded 25 assists and Palmer put up 18. Donnelly again led the defensive effort with 10 digs.


The No. 19 Illini came up short at No. 8 Penn State, 2-1 for their second Big Ten loss Sunday. Senior Jannelle Flaws scored the equalizer less than a minute after Penn State scored, but the Nittany Lions answered with a game-winner in the 84th minute to escape with the win. The Illini had a four-game winning streak entering the game after a 4-1 win over Ohio State. Flaws scored two goals in the game and became the first Illini to record multiple goals in four consecutive games. The Buckeyes had an own goal and sophomore Casey Conine added a late goal in the 82nd minute.

Men's Golf

The No. 1 Illini took the weekend off to watch the Ryder Cup and won't be back on the links until Oct. 13-14 at the Sagamore Preview in Noblesville, Indiana.

Women's Golf

No play this week, but they will be on the fairways next weekend at the Diane Thomason Invitational at Iowa City.

Men's Cross-Country

Jannis Toepfer led the way for Illinois, finishing sixth in the field of over 300 runners with a time of 24:57 in the 8-kilometer race at Les Bolstad Golf Course in the Roy Griak Invite in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Toepfer was under 11 seconds behind individual champion, Nate Jewkes of Southern Utah. The Illini took seventh in the 10-team invitational with 230 points.

Byrce Basting was the second Illini runner to cross the finish line at 25:27 for a 20th-place finish in his varsity debut.

Paul Zeman (25:55) 47th place, Ian Barnett (26:08) 63rd place, Will Brewster (26:26) 94th place, Garrett Lee (26:38) 110th place, and Alex Gold (27:18) 152nd place rounded out the Illini team.

Women's Cross-Country

Alyssa Schneider led the Illini for the third-straight meet with a 22:30 over the 6-kilometer course for 58th place in the field of 390 runners. Shelby Houlihan of Arizona State took the individual title at the Griak Invite. The Illini took 18th place in the 35-team field with 558 points.

Amanda Fox was the second Illini to complete the race at 23:05 for 58th place. Hanna Winter (23:18) 110th place, Valerie Bobart (23:50) 149th place, Britten Petrey (23:50) 150th place, Chloe Schmidt (24:10) 167th place, Megan Lemersal (24:46) 208th place, Lindsey Rakosnik (25:05) 291st place and Kim Seger (25:50) 322 place rounded out the Illini runners.

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