Led by outside hitter Jocelynn Birks and redshirt freshman Maddie Mayers, the Illinois volleyball team opened its season Friday with a 3-0 sweep of No. 18 Florida State at the Long Beach State Mizuno Invitational.
The unranked Illini knocked off the Seminoles 25-18, 25-23, 25-23 behind Birks' match-high 22 kills and middle blocker Mayers' 11 kills and four block assists.
Mayers, a redshirt freshman playing in her first collegiate match, hit .625 in 16 swings with only one error. The Illini hit .282 as a team.
Junior outside hitter Liz McMahon also had 11 kills for Illinois, while libero Jennifer Beltran (match-high 18 digs) and right-side hitter Ali Stark (10 digs) led the Illini to a 44-41 advantage in digs.
Illinois also held a 7.5-7.0 edge in blocks against FSU, which hit .192.
The Illini will play their second match of the tournament tonight against host Long Beach State. The match is scheduled to start at 9:30 Central time.