Orozco might be cleared for NCAAs

It's looking more likely that Illini volleyball player Jazmine Orozco will be medically cleared to play in the NCAA volleyball tournament this weekend at Huff Hall.

The sophomore right-side hitter, one of Illinois' top reserves, has missed the team's last seven matches due to a concussion. Orozco was injured during a collision with a teammate in prematch warmups on Nov. 5 at Indiana.

Illini coach Kevin Hambly indicated Wednesday morning that Orozco's status won't be known for sure until Friday. However, he also said: "But we are extremely optimistic that she will be available."

The concussion was Orozco's second head injury this year. In late February, the Lakewood, Calif., native suffered a brain contusion when by a ball during USA Volleyball open tryouts at Colorado Springs, Colo.

The No. 7 Illini will open the tournament against Central Michigan at 7 p.m. Friday. The other first-round match at Huff pairs No. 24 Western Kentucky against Marquette.

Friday's winners advance to the second round at 7 p.m. Saturday at Huff.

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jgrout wrote on November 30, 2011 at 3:11 pm

Former Illini assistant Jeff Hulsmeyer's old employer, Western Kentucky, is back at Huff for the third time in four years.  Though the Lady Toppers are probably relieved that they won't have to face the Cincinnati Bearcats (who beat them at Huff in both 2008 and 2010), new Illinois AD Mike Thomas was the Cincinnati AD in both those seasons.  After his unsuccessful tenure at Purdue, Hulsmeyer was the head coach at NAIA-member Georgetown College and is now the second assistant at K-State.