Birks, McMahon pace volleyball win

Birks, McMahon pace volleyball win

CHAMPAIGN — Jocelynn Birks had 23 kills and Liz McMahon added 15 as Illinois ended a four-match losing streak by manhandling Indiana 25-22, 25-17, 22-25, 25-18 in Big Ten volleyball Saturday night at Huff Hall.

“We talked about coming out strong and staying consistent throughout, attacking and being aggressive,” Birks said, “so I think that had a lot to do with the win.”

Led by Erin Johnson, Illinois had 15 blocks in improving to 11-13 overall, 5-9 Big Ten.

“I’m happy we got a win for the kids,” UI coach Kevin Hambly said. “They played hard. They’ve been playing hard the past several matches and they played hard tonight.”

Jennifer Beltran had 15 digs and Annie Luhrsen reached  2,500 career assists with 44.

Birks was too much for Indiana to handle.

“I was just trying to be myself and play as relaxed as I could,” she said. “I just got in a groove and was trying to get kills.”

Centennial product Morgan Leach had 11 kills for the Hoosiers.

In women’s tennis:
Doubles team victorious.
Audrey O’Connor and Breanne Smutko earned a doubles victory, and O’Connor, Smutko, Misia Kedzierski and Julia Jamieson won in singles Saturday at the Midwest Blast at Atkins Tennis Center.

“It was a solid day overall for the Illini,” UI coach Michelle Dasso said. “Breanne and Audrey impressed me in doubles. Their chemistry is continuing to grow each match they play together.”

In men’s tennis:
Abdelnour advances.
UI senior Bruno Abdelnour moved on to the singles quarterfinals of the Big Ten Indoor Championships on Saturday at Madison, Wis.

Abdelnour and sophomore Ross Guignon earned the consolation title in doubles play.

“I think Bruno lost a little focus in the middle of his match but managed to take down a feisty player,” associate head coach Marcos Asse said.