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WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — The Illinois volleyball team saved its best for last.

After what has been a tough season, the Illini rallied for a 15-25, 25-21, 18-25, 27-25, 15-12 victory at eighth-ranked Purdue on Saturday in their regular-season finale at Holloway Gymnasium in West Lafayette, Ind.

Illinois (7-11), which was swept by the Boilermakers (14-6) the night before, received a strong offensive output from Bruna Vrankovic, who put down a match-high 23 digs. Raina Terry (17 kills) and Megan Cooney (14 kills) chipped in offensively, as well. Cooney also supplied 12 digs, one of two Illini to post a double-double with Diana Brown netting 46 assists and 14 digs. Taylor Kuper was responsible for 26 digs in the victory, as well.

Fletcher wins Big Ten title

OMAHA, Neb. — Michael Fletcher can now call himself a Big Ten champion. The junior on the Illinois men’s gymnastics team won the vault title at Saturday’s Big Ten championships with a score of 14.600.

The Illini placed fourth overall as a team at 396.900 behind conference champion Michigan (411.000), Nebraska (398.000) and Iowa (397.700).

Hampe keys Illini victory

CHAMPAIGN — Ryan Hampe’s two-run, go-ahead home run in the eighth inning broke an 8-all tie and Jack Crowder shut the door on any comeback attempt by Nebraska in the Illinois baseball team’s 10-8 victory against the Cornhuskers on Saturday night at Illinois Field.

The Illini (8-9) evened the three-game series with Saturday’s win against Nebraska (12-5).

Tadiotto, Illini in the hunt

AUGUSTA, Ga. — The Illinois men’s golf team ranked third after 36 holes of the Augusta Haskins Award Invitational at Forest Hills Golf Club. The Illini posted rounds of 286 and 273 on Saturday for a two-round total of 17-under 559.

Giovanni Tadiotto was in contention for individual medalist honors with the Illini junior golfer in second place at 8-under 136, four strokes back of Pepperdine’s Dylan Menante.

Pepperdine also led the team chase after 36 holes with the Waves at 28-under 548.

Pasquale’s goal lifts Illini

EVANSTON — Kendra Pasquale’s goal in the 89th minute finished off a second-half comeback that saw the Illinois soccer team rally for a 2-1 victory at Northwestern on Saturday.

The Illini (6-4-1) fell behind 1-0 at halftime on a first-half goal from the Wildcats’ Regan Steigleder in the 15th minute. The score remained in Northwestern’s favor until the 70th minute when Zoey Kollhoff netted her first career goal to tie the game at 1.

With just over a minute to go, Pasquale slotted the ball underneath Wildcats goalkeeper Mackenzie Wood for the game-winner against Northwestern (5-6-0).

Illini take one from Badgers

MADISON, Wis. — The Illinois softball team split a Saturday doubleheader at Wisconsin, putting Tyra Perry’s Illini in position to claim a series win if they beat the Badgers in Sunday’s finale.

After winning Friday’s game against Wisconsin, Illinois followed that performance up by taking an early 4-0 lead in Saturday’s first game en route to a 7-2 victory. Delaney Rummell led the way with three hits, one of six Illini to post multi-hit game in support of Addy Jarvis, who picked up the win after allowing five hits,two runs in seven innings.

Illinois again jumped out to an early lead in Saturday’s late game on Jaelyn Vickery’s RBI double, but that was all the offense the Illini would muster in an eventual 2-1 loss to the Badgers. Tori McQueen was on the losing end for Illinois after permitting four hits and two runs during her six innings inside the circle.

Relays shine for Illini track

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — It was another good day for the men’s and women’s relay teams for Illinois on Saturday at the Big Ten North Florida Invitational.

Olivia Howell, Tracy Towns, Madison Marasco and Mikaela Lucki took second in the 3,200-meter relay (8 minutes, 57.56 seconds), while Amira Aduma, Nya Carr, Nicole Nguyen and Jessica McDowell took third in the 400-meter relay (45.81 seconds). On the men’s side, Kashief King, Robert Williams, Jason Thormo and Aman Thornton finished third in the 1,600-meter relay (three minutes, 11.41 seconds).

Jason Shannon (21.12 seconds) and Thormo (21.25 seconds) placed second and third, respectively, in the 200 meter, while Felicia Phillips (24.08 seconds) and Aduma (24.15 seconds) also shined in the women’s 200 with second- and third-place clockings.

Sports Copy Editor

Joe Vozzelli Jr. is a sports copy editor at The News-Gazette. His email is jvozzelli@news-gazette.com.

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