CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — First home game of the season and the Illini look like a well-oiled machine. They were up against No. 19 Tennessee on Sunday afternoon in what looked like a potential sweep, and it turned out to be one of the many nail-biters fans are expecting to see this season.
From hearing Spike Squad outside of Huff Hall, to the rallies during game-point, Illinois Volleyball is just as fierce as it was when it made it to the NCAA Final Four last season.
The Illini took the first set, 25-22 after a call was challenged by Tennessee. Fortunately for the Illini, the officials let the call stand, and they headed into the second set. The Illini kept the momentum in the second set and came out on top yet again, winning 25-18.
Senior Jacqueline Quade had a stellar performance on the court today. With 32 blocks, the senior from Fort Wayne, made a clear statement that her and her team mean business.
“I think it’s huge for the team to come together. The girls know that this is just about taking care of that point, taking care of that set,” said Coach Chris Tamas.
The Illini, unfortunately, came up a little short in the third and fourth periods with 25-21 losses in both. The Illini woke up this morning with a 1-0 record, with intentions of making it 2-0. All they had to do was win the 5th set, and that’s exactly what they did. The Illini took a 15-8 win in the fifth set, making it a 3-2 win overall.
Last season, the Illini played their hearts out all the way until they made to the Final Four at the NCAA Championship in Minnesota; their hard work and dedication did not go unnoticed. The NCAA 2018 Final Four banner was dropped at today’s match.
First home match of the year? You know what that means.— Tristen Kissack (@TKissack20) September 1, 2019
The #Illini officially unveil their 2018 NCAA Final Four banner ahead of this afternoon’s matchup against No. 19 Tennessee. pic.twitter.com/FfFIHH1cK6
An incredible achievement for the Illini volleyball program. They may have a few more banners hanging up alongside the 2018 banner, but there’s something different about a banner from last season. It helps motivate and set even higher goals for this season.
Quade said, “It’s always awesome celebrate such a great year. But, once it drops, we’re right back. It’s go-time.
The Illini are taking a five-day break before their next matchup against, the University of Washington, while heir next home match is Sept. 29th. Coach Tamas, says that the team is ready for their away-game streak for the next few weeks.
“They can perform under pressure really well. It’s not always easy being under all the lights and in front of 4,000 screaming fans. We’re always looking forward to the next week being better than the last.”