No. 23 Illinois takes five-set win over No. 6 Volleyball
Sept. 14, 2012
AUSTIN, Texas -- Jocelynn Birks led all players with 21 kills and 12 digs Friday as the No. 23 Illinois Fighting Illini earned a five-set win (25-18, 21-25, 21-25, 25-19, 13-15) over the No. 6 Texas Longhorns in Time Warner Cable Texas Invitational action.
Birks added one ace and two blocks for Illinois (4-4) while Anna Dorn added 12 kills with no errors and seven blocks while hitting .706 (12-0-17). Annie Luhrsen registered 52 assists, three aces and three blocks while Liz McMahon chipped in eight kills and 11 blocks.
The Longhorns (6-3) were led by sophomore All-America outside hitter Haley Eckerman, who registered 17 kills and nine digs. Khat Bell added 11 kills and five blocks for the Longhorns while junior setter Hannah Allison had a season-high two kills and 35 assists.
The Longhorns came out swinging hard in set one. They launched the set with a 5-1 run, punctuated by a pair of Bell kills and another from Eckerman. Bell and Eckerman finished the set with five kills apiece.
Momentum shifted early in the second for the Fighting Illini, who ended up hitting .414 in the set to even the match. Illinois broke a 12-12 tie in the third with the 6-2 run to pull away and take the 2-1 advantage.
Trailing 13-12 in the fourth, Eckerman sparked three straight points for the 15-13 score. After Illinois took a 17-16 lead, Bell started a run of seven straight points as the Longhorns would force a fifth and deciding set.
Illinois opened the fifth with a 5-2 run, but two kills from Eckerman helped the Horns to score four straight and take the lead. Bell and Allison combined on a block for the 9-8 Texas lead, but back-to-back blocks by Illinois snapped the 12-12 tie and helped earn the win.
The Time Warner Cable Texas Invitational continues tomorrow. UCF and Illinois plays at 9 a.m. before Texas takes on Cincinnati at 11:30 a.m. Later in the day, Texas plays UCF at 4 p.m. before the tournament concludes with Cincinnati and Illinois at 7 p.m. The two Texas matches will feature a live broadcast on Longhorn Network. Gametracker live stats along with an audio webcast will be available on TexasSports.com and live Twitter updates @TexasVolleyball.
Notes: Khat Bell's previous season best for kills was 10 against Florida on Aug. 31...Hannah Allison had a season-high two kills...freshman Kat Brooks recorded three service aces to tie her season-high set on Aug. 29 at West Virginia...Sha'Dare McNeal had a season-high 12 kills (previous season best was 11, set twice)...Illinois is now 6-5 all-time against Texas...Texas has now lost two home matches this season, only the second time that has happened since the 2004 season (the 2006 squad went 13-3 at home).
ILL 18-25-25-19-15 TEXAS 25-21-21-25-13