Volleyball turns table, upsets Michigan
ANN ARBOR, Mich. — Kevin Hambly has said for weeks that his Illinois volleyball team needed a shot of confidence.
Saturday night’s come-from-behind road victory against No. 14 Michigan should qualify.
Trailing 2-1 after three sets, the Illini battled back to pull out a 25-18, 15-25, 10-25, 25-20, 15-13 Big Ten victory.
“Every win is big, but this one — emotionally how we were feeling — I think this one was huge for us,” Hambly said. “Hopefully we can turn it into future wins.”
Illinois (6-8, 2-2) entered losers of six of its last seven matches. The two most recent defeats were 3-0 sweeps, including one night earlier at No. 9 Michigan State.
“I felt like (Friday) we really fought hard but we didn’t execute,” Hambly said. “And today (Saturday), I felt like we fought hard and we fought hard to execute.”
Execution was vital in the winner-take-all fifth set, when Illinois hit .300 and sided out at a 78 percent rate.
Outside hitter Jocelynn Birks led the UI attack with a match-high 21 kills and hit .288 in 59 swings. It was the 15th 20-kill match of the redshirt sophomore’s career.
“She was great,” Hambly said.
Illinois got a lift from outside hitter Morganne Criswell. Entering in the second set, Criswell had eight kills and hit .300 in 20 swings.
In men’s golf:
Illini break record. The No. 17 Illini shot the two lowest rounds in program history while taking an 11-stroke lead in the Macdonald Cup at New Haven, Conn.
With rounds of 269 and 270, Illinois broke the previous school record of 272.
Illini junior Brian Campbell tied the second-best score in school history with a 64 in the first round and leads with a 9-under 131.
In men’s tennis:
Doubles team advance. Jared Hiltzik’s singles run at the ITA All-American Championships ended, but two of his Illini teammates moved one win away from a consolation doubles title at Tulsa, Okla.
Mitchell Frank of Virginia defeated the 14th-seeded Hiltzik 6-2, 7-6 (5) in the main draw quarters.
Ross Guignon and Tim Kopinski of Illinois outbattled the Ohio State duo of Peter Kobelt and Kevin Metka 8-7 (1) in the consolation semis. The Illini tandem will play Lloyd Glasspool and Soren Hess-Olesen of Texas today in the final.