COLUMBUS, Ohio — In losing another five-set match, Illinois lost out on a chance to improve its NCAA tournament standing.
The Illini are on the brink of failing to reach the postseason after 25-23, 16-25, 25-23, 16-25, 17-15 loss to No. 15 Ohio State on Saturday. To be considered for an at-large berth to the NCAA tournament — where Illinois finished second a year ago — teams must have at least a .500 record. At 11-15, the Illini need to sweep their four remaining matches.
“I thought they worked really hard,” UI coach Kevin Hambly said. “I thought they did everything except for finish.”
Liz McMahon had 20 kills and Jocelynn Birks had 16. Annie Luhrsen had a season-best 63 assists and tied a career high with 15 digs.
It was the UI’s seventh five-set defeat.
“They’re at home, and it’s tough to beat a team at home,” Hambly said. “We had our chances, though. We played calm up until the very, very end, and then we lost it a little bit, and you can’t do that if you’re going to win this match.”