Hambly's squad hits road bump
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — The Illinois volleyball team entered the weekend looking to build some momentum. Instead, No. 20 Purdue emerged from a four-set Big Ten battle on Friday night with a much-needed victory of its own.
“I thought at times we played as well as we have (all season),” Illini coach Kevin Hambly said following a 29-31, 25-23, 25-17, 25-23 loss in front of 5,160 fans at Mackey Arena. “On the road, you’ve got to be really good for an extended period of time. We didn’t do that.”
Illinois (6-9, 2-3 Big Ten) was coming off a five-set win at then-No. 14 Michigan and looking to win consecutive matches for the first time since mid-September.
“We had a chance to beat them and probably should have, which is disappointing,” Hambly said.
This was a vital match for Purdue, too. The Boilermakers (11-5) faced the prospect of falling to 1-4 in the conference with a loss.
“It was a battle,” Hambly said.
Particularly in Set 1.
“Both teams ran out of subs,” Hambly said. “It was an interesting set.”
Illini outside hitter Jocelynn Birks belted a match-high 22 kills and junior teammate Morganne Criswell set a career best with 15 kills. Illini libero Jennifer Beltran had 19 digs to move within three of the school career record.
In women’s tennis:
Doubles teams advance. Two Illini doubles teams ad-vanced to the round of 16 at the ITA Midwest Regional Championships at Ann Arbor, Mich.
The third-seeded tandem of Melissa Kopinski and Allison Falkin followed a first-round bye with an 8-4 victory against Annie Wierda and Kristen Dodge of Michigan.
Misia Kedzierski and Louise Kwong defeated the Detroit duo of Valery Kulikovskaya and Viktoria Laskutova 8-3 in the opening round. Kedzierski and Kwong then earned an 8-2 win against Michigan’s Sara Remnyse and Amy Zhu in the second round.
In men’s tennis:
Hiltzik prevails. No. 17 Jared Hiltzik of Illinois defeated No. 67 Harrison Adams of Texas A&M 6-0, retired in the first round of singles at the Conference Challenge at College Station, Texas.
Other Illini to win in the opening round were No. 121 Tim Kopinski, Alex Jesse, Farris Gosea and Ross Guignon. Gosea knocked off No. 78 Junior Ore of Texas A&M 6-3, 1-6, 6-1.
Illinois went 4-4 in the first two rounds of doubles. In the opening round, the 10th-ranked tandem of Guignon/Kopinski lost to A&M’s third-ranked Jackson Withrow and Ore 8-7 (7).