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No. 14 Illini Rally for Fifth-Set Victory over No. 7 Marquette

NORMAL, Ill. – Behind a full team effort, the No. 14 Illinois volleyball team stormed back from a two-set deficit to take a 3-2 (25-27, 12-25, 25-22, 25-21, 15-11) victory – the third of the season for the Illini – in the team’s Redbird Classic finale on Saturday (September 14) night at Redbird Arena.

UI (3-4) got contributions from multiple players with three Illini reaching double figures in kills with senior Jacqueline Quade earning her second-straight double-double and third of the season with a match-high 21 kills to go along with 11 digs. Junior Megan Cooney posted 16 kills , while redshirt-freshman Bruna Vrankovic notched her first-career double-digit outing with 10 kills.

Redshirt-freshman Diana Brown turned in her fifth double-double of the season with 52 helpers, 10 digs and four blocks. Senior Ashlyn Fleming was dominate at the net en route to registering a match-high seven blocks, while freshman Rylee Hinton contributed four stuffs on the night.

Defensively, senior Caroline Welsh recorded a team-high 16 digs, with sophomore Taylor Kuper also notching 11 digs to go along with a career-high five service aces.

Despite dropping the first two sets of the match, the Illini continued to battle and came away with a 25-22 third set win after 10 ties and six lead changes. They continued their momentum into the fourth as Quade and Cooney propelled the squad to a 25-21 set win.

With the scored tied at 8-8 in the fifth, the Illini – who capitalized on a 81 sideout percentage and a .500 attack clip in the final period – used a 5-2 run to pull ahead at 13-9, before a Quade kill set up match point at 14-10. Brown and Fleming then combined for the Illini’s 11th block of the night to earn the five-set victory.

The Illini wrap up nonconference action next weekend at the Bulldog Brawl, hosted by Butler on September 20-21 in Indianapolis, Ind. The Illini will face Pacific on Friday at 11 a.m. CT, before taking on Loyola Marymount on Saturday at 8 a.m. CT to wrap the weekend.