ANN ARBOR, MICH. — Two straight sweeps seemed to have the Illinois volleyball team back on the right track.
Saturday night proved otherwise.
The Illini (12-11, 7-7 Big Ten) dropped their first two sets on the road Saturday night against Michigan before taking the third, but it wasn’t enough to stave off a 25-23, 25-15, 23-25, 25-18 loss to the Wolverines (17-7, 10-4).
A contested first set had things looking like it might go down to the wire early on, but the Illini fell a little flat in the second set. Only in the third did they regain enough of their momentum to take a set, but it proved futile as the Wolverines romped to clinch the match in the fourth set.
Jacqueline Quade’s 10 kills, seven digs and two aces led the charge for Illinois, while Mica Allison (nine kills), Ashlyn Fleming (eight kills, four aces) and Megan Cooney (eight kills) all helped balance out the attack.
Diana Brown also turned in a strong outing with 26 of the Illini’s 40 assists as well as six digs.
Illinois will have most of the week to recalibrate before hosting Penn State at 7 p.m. Friday and Rutgers at 7 p.m. Saturday next weekend at Huff Hall in the second-to-last home weekend in the Illini’s regular season.
UI women hold on late at home. The reaction from Kennedi Myles summed up the significance of the moment.
Myles’ assist to fellow freshman Jeanae Terry, who finished off a basket through contact helped seal a closer-than-expected 78-75 overtime victory for the Illinois women’s basketball team against Holy Cross on Saturday afternoon at State Farm Center.
Myles stomped her feet three times to celebrate Terry’s made layup with 13.8 seconds left in the extra period.
It was Petra Holesinska’s two free throws that finally let the Illini (2-0), who trailed 37-28 at halftime, breathe easy.
The redshirt junior guard — coming off a career-high 29 points in Illinois’ season-opening win on Tuesday against Chicago State — had a frustrating afternoon four days later, going 0 of 10 from the field in 22 minutes.
But, Holesinska iced the game by knocking down a pair of shots at the free-throw line to put the Illini ahead by three with 11 seconds left against the Crusaders (0-1).
Ali Andrews led Illinois with 20 points and 11 rebounds while Jada Peebles had 17 points and Myles followed up her freshman debut with 11 points and seven rebounds against Holy Cross.
Now, Illinois turns its attention to Austin Peay ahead of a 7 p.m. Wednesday game in Champaign against the Governors.