Illini volleyball sitting sweet, looking to become Elite

Illini volleyball sitting sweet, looking to become Elite

Illinois volleyball knows the opponent (Marquette), the date (Friday) and the time (11 a.m.) for its next NCAA tournament match at Huff Hall in Champaign, with ESPNU set to broadcast. Here are three other items you need to know about the Illini before the Sweet 16 starts:

Another milestone

Half of the Illini's wins have come during their current 15-match win streak. Saturday night's four-set triumph against Louisville marked the 30th win this season for Illinois, only the eighth time in the program's history that mark has been reached. The last time? 2011, when the Illini finished national runner-up. "The record is the record at the end of the year," Illinois second-year coach Chris Tamas said. "Whether we win this thing or not, I'm really proud of how they approach every single day."

What pressure?

Playing in front of the home crowd this past weekend during wins against Eastern Michigan and Louisville helped any nerves the Illini might have had go away. Getting a chance to play two more potential matches this weekend in Champaign helps ease the pressure. "When it's the postseason, there's always a little bit extra," Illinois junior outside hitter Jacqueline Quade said. "As a team, we've done a good job of figuring out how to manage that and turn it into positive instead of jitters. That's been cool to see."

Starting the scout

If Illinois gets past Marquette — the Illini are 4-0 all-time against the Golden Eagles, last winning in four sets during the 2013 season — then a 3 p.m. match on Saturday against either San Diego (18-12) or Wisconsin (24-6) awaits. Those two teams play at Huff at 1:30 p.m. on Friday. "We see these battles day out and day in playing in the Big Ten," Tamas said. "I can't stress that enough. That's a luxury of playing in our conference. It is a little bit of a grind, but we're ready for any moment thrown our way."

-