No. 25 Illini Fall in Three to No. 10 Ohio State | #students | #parents

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. The No. 25 Illinois volleyball team fought, but fell to No. 10 Ohio State, 3-0 (25-27, 18-25, 23-25) on Sunday (November 14) afternoon in Huff Hall.

Graduate student Megan Cooney led the Illini (17-10, 9-7 B1G) with 11 kills on a .222 hitting percentage to go along with four blocks, with sophomore Raina Terry adding nine kills and junior Kyla Swanson posting seven kills on a .429 attack clip and three blocks.

Redshirt-junior Diana Brown registered her 37th career double-double and team-leading 13th of the season with 29 assists, 11 digs and three blocks. Defensively, senior Taylor Kuper turned in a match-high 17 digs, with redshirt-freshman Maddie Whittington equaling a career-high with five blocks in the match.

It was tight start to the opening set – one that saw 13 ties and three lead changes – as neither team grabbed more than a two-point advantage as the Illini, trailing at 11-9, used a 5-1 run to take a 14-12 lead following a Cooney ace. OSU (21-5, 11-5) came back to knot the score at 15-15 as the two teams battled back-and-forth. Back-to-back kills from junior Jessica Nunge combined with a Cooney kill then put the Illini ahead at 19-16, but the Buckeyes used an 8-3 run to take a 24-22 edge. The Illini responded with kills from Terry and Nunge to fight off a pair of set points, before another OSU kill gave the visitors their third set point of the first. After a service error tied the score at 25-25, OSU took the next two points to take the opener, 27-25.

In another close opening to a set, OSU broke an early 6-6 tie with a 10-3 run to take control at 16-9. Back-to-back points on a Swanson kill and a Whittington solo stuff brought the Illini within 16-11, but another 7-1 run pushed the Buckeyes to a 23-12 advantage. After an OSU service error and a Terry ace, the visitors converted on a kill for set point at 24-14, but the Illini battled with four-straight scores until an OSU kill sealed the 25-18 second set.  

It was all Illini to start the third set as a Cooney kill gave the home team the early 5-2 advantage. The Buckeyes came back to tie the score at 6-6, as the two teams exchanged points over the next several rallies. With the score tied at 13-13, the Illini put together a 5-2 run to take an 18-15 lead following a Nunge kill. The Illini continued to lead by three at 19-16, but the Buckeyes responded with another 5-1 run to pull ahead at 21-22. After trading points, OSU broke a 22-22 tie with back-to-back points to set up match point at 24-22. A Whittington kill would kill off the first match point, but a kill for the visitors then sent OSU to the 25-23 set win and the 3-0 victory.

Illinois heads back on the road to face Indiana for the second time in eight days as the Illini travel to Bloomington, Ind., for a 6 p.m. CT match on Friday (November 19), before returning to Huff Hall to host Maryland on Senior Day on Sunday (November 21) at 12 p.m. CT.

For more Fighting Illini volleyball news, stay tuned to and follow @IlliniVBall on social media: Twitter | Instagram | Facebook.

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