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Brown Leads No. 5 Illini Volleyball in 3-2 Setback to No. 16 Huskies

IOWA CITY, Iowa – In its third-straight five-set match of the season, the No. 5 Illinois volleyball team dropped a hard-fought battle with No. 16 Washington, 3-2 (22-25, 25-20, 25-20, 21-25, 15-10), in the opening match of the Big Ten/Pac-12 Challenge on Friday (September 6) afternoon in Carver-Hawkeye Arena on the campus of the University of Iowa.

Senior Jacqueline Quade turned in a team-high 23 kills on a .405 hitting percentage, while redshirt-senior Beth Prince joined Quade in double figures with 14 kills in her debut match of the season. Junior Megan Cooney added nine kills and freshman Kennedy Collins notched eight, with the duo leading the Illini with four blocks each.

For the third-straight match, redshirt-freshman Diana Brown collected a double-double with 51 assists and a match-high 12 digs, while guiding the Illini to a .313 team hitting percentage.

Defensively, junior Morgan O’Brien also notched 10 digs in the match.

After falling in the opening set, the Illini came back to take the next two – 25-20 in both the second and third – for the 2-1 advantage in the match. A win in the fourth by the Huskies (3-1) then forced the decisive fifth set.

The two teams went back-and-forth in the opening points of the fifth, before back-to-back scores gave the Illini a 6-4 edge following a Prince kill. UI continued to hold the lead at 8-7 after a Fleming attack, but UW used seven-unanswered points to take a 14-8 advantage. Illinois managed to fight off a pair of match points, before the Huskies finished off the set with a kill for the 15-10 win to take the match.

The Illini next finish up play at the Big Ten/Pac-12 Challenge with a 4 p.m. CT match against Colorado on Saturday (September 7) in Carver-Hawkeye Arena.