Illinois in a hurry to defeat Hoosiers

Illinois in a hurry to defeat Hoosiers

CHAMPAIGN – After playing three consecutive five-set matches, the No. 12 Illinois volleyball team made quick work of Indiana on Saturday night at Huff Hall.

Laura DeBruler notched her eighth double-double of the season and Johannah Bangert continued her strong blocking, leading the Illini to a 25-20, 25-21, 25-22 Big Ten victory that was completed in 1 hour, 30 minutes.

The win gave Illinois (12-3) a sweep of its weekend home series and improved its conference record to 4-2.

"Any time you come out of a Big Ten weekend with two wins you have to be pleased," Illini coach Kevin Hambly said. "We still need to cut down on our hitting errors, but we're getting back to keeping rallies going and setting up our block to end the point."

Illinois outblocked the Hoosiers 9 1/2 -5 behind Bangert's six block assists. On Friday against Purdue, the junior middle blocker tied an 18-year-old school record with 13 block assists.

Bangert also loomed large on offense, belting eight kills in 10 swings, without an error, for a career-high .800 hitting percentage.

"I'm starting to connect with (setter) Hillary (Haen), which is tougher for me since I am more of a blocker," Bangert said. "I think tonight we did a lot of things well, though, and it was more of a team effort."

DeBruler also was efficient on the attack, too, hitting a match-high 12 kills in 27 swings with one error for a .407 hitting percentage. The junior outside hitter also led all players in digs with 14, producing her fourth consecutive double-double and sixth in her last seven matches.

Haen finished with 31 assists while directing a balanced UI attack to a .222 hitting percentage. Four Illini had at least seven kills, including outside hitter Kylie McCulley (eight) and right-side hitter Michelle Bartsch (seven).

Illinois finished with a 49-35 edge in digs while holding the Hoosiers (13-6, 2-3) to a .114 hitting percentage.

In women's swimming:

Illini open with win. Jen Ivarson won three events and freshman diver Lauren Wismer set a school record, leading Illinois to a season-opening 165-135 victory against Nebraska.

Ivarson placed first in the 100-yard butterfly (57.73 seconds), 200 butterfly (2:06.35) and 200 individual medley (2:09.26).

"Jen did a great job today," UI coach Sue Novitsky said. "She took on her races strong from the start, which we've been working on for three years, and was able to finish them strong."

Wismer broke the Illini record in the 1-meter dive with a first-place score of 290.47. She also won the 3-meter dive with 282.38 points, the No. 6 score in Illini history.

"It was a nice way to start the season, especially as a freshman," UI diving coach Chris Waters said. "She looked very steady and had solid performances today."

In women's tennis:

Kentucky Invitational. The Illini doubles team of Kristina Minor and Christine Stromberg advanced to the Flight B championship match at the Kentucky Invitational in Lexington, Ky.

The UI tandem edged Vanderbilt's Hannah Blatt and Keilly Ulery 9-7 in the semifinals and will meet the Commodores' duo of Erica Robertson and Heather Steinbauer in today's title match. Robertson and Steinbauer knocked off the Illini team of Amy Allin and Annie McCarthy 8-3 in the other semifinal.

In singles, Allin and Stromberg advanced to consolation title matches. Allin won a pair of three-set matches in Flight B that were decided by identical 12-10 scores in the final set. In Flight D, Stromberg twice won in straight sets to reach today's consolation finals.

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