Strong Finish Leads Illini to Home-Opening Win Over Maryland

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CHAMPAIGN, Ill. – Illinois volleyball closed its first match in Huff Hall in over 300 days with a late 5-0 run to secure a 3-1 victory over Maryland to open Big Ten Conference play Friday night. The Fighting Illini saw Raina Terry lead the way with 20 kills for the first time this season while Diana Brown added her sixth double-double outing of 2022.

With the victory, the Orange and Blue improved to 6-5 on the season and 1-0 in Big Ten play while Maryland moved to 9-4 overall and 0-1 in conference action. Illinois now leads the all-time series with the Terrapins, 13-0.

Additionally, Illinois is now 40-9 all-time in its first home match of the season including wins in 23 of the last 26 home openers.

First-set action opened with a quick 4-0 lead on four-straight kills from Terry for the Orange and Blue. The Illini hit double digits first with a 10-5 advantage and forced a Maryland timeout with an 11-5 lead. A 5-1 run by Illinois, capped by back-to-back points from Kennedy Collins forced the Terps’ second timeout at 16-7. The Orange and Blue took the opening frame with a 25-17 decision.

Maryland returned the favor of leading wire-to-wire in set two, ultimately evening the match with a 25-18 second-set victory. The Illini battled within one on several occasions, including as late as the 18-17 mark following a combined block by Brooke Mosher and Kyla Swanson. Maryland would score the next three points and force Illinois’ second timeout with the Illini trailing 21-17. The Terps would score seven of the final eight points of the set to knot the match at 1-1.

Out of the break, the sides worked out to a 3-3 tie – the lone tie of the third set. On the next play, Collins struck for a kill and the Illini would lead the rest of the way. Maryland was forced into an early timeout trailing 9-4 and the Orange and Blue hit double digits on the next serve. Late in the frame, Illinois used a 6-0 run on Kayla Burbage’s serve to push its lead to double digits and ultimately won the set, 25-15.

Set four opened with another quick 3-3 tie before the Illini took a 3-0 run out to a 6-3 lead. Maryland battled back and tied things up at 8-8 before a Burbage kill pushed Illinois into double digits. The Orange and Blue owned a lead as large as six at 15-9 but Maryland flipped the tables and would surge late for a 23-20 advantage. Out of an Illini timeout, Illinois fired off four straight kills before a Swanson solo block closed the match at 25-23.

Illinois operated at a collective .229 hitting clip on the night while holding Maryland to a .131 rate. Brown dished out 41 assists to go along with 11 digs for the 46th double double of her career.

Terry led the Illini with a match-high 20 digs while working at a .283 clip on 53 attacks. Collins and Burbage each added eight kills while Collins tallying three blocks as well.

Working in a different role than usual, Mosher racked up a career-high 14 kills on .346 hitting while adding five digs and a block.

Caroline Barnes registered 19 digs, five assists and two aces.

Illinois will host [RV] Northwestern Saturday night with first serve going up at 7 p.m. CT from Huff Hall.

Notes:

– Starters: Kennedy Collins, Diana Brown, Kyla Swanson, Kayla Burbage, Caroline Barnes, Raina Terry and Sophie Gregus.

– The Illini wore long sleeve white jerseys for the fourth time of the season and are now 2-2 when wearing those.

– Illinois is now 40-9 all-time in its first home match of the season including wins in 23 of the last 26 home openers.

Diana Brown recorded her sixth double double of the season (41 assists, 11 digs) and 46th of her career.

Brooke Mosher racked up a career-high 14 kills on a .346 hitting percentage.

– Illinois is now 13-0 all-time against Maryland and 12-0 since the Terps joined the Big Ten.


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