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No. 19 Illini Secure Weekend Sweep with 3-1 Victory over LMU

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – The No. 19 Illinois volleyball team completed the weekend sweep as the Illini earned a 3-1 (24-26, 25-17, 25-14, 25-11) victory over Loyola Marymount in the team’s second and final match of the Bulldog Brawl on Saturday (September 21) in Hinkle Fieldhouse.

The Illini, who finish off the nonconference slate with a 5-4 record, were led offensively with 16 kills from senior Jacqueline Quade, to go along with 13 kills on a .355 hitting percentage from junior Megan Cooney and nine kills on .467 attack clip from senior Ashlyn Fleming.

In another strong outing, redshirt-freshman Diana Brown directed the Illini offense to a .286 team hitting percentage – including marks of .406, .333 and .345 in the final three sets, while passing out 42 assists in the win.

It was a full team effort defensively for the Illini with junior Morgan O’Brien leading the way with 13 digs, with Quade, Brown, sophomore Taylor Kuper and senior Caroline Welsh each adding seven digs on the morning.

The Illini block was on form as well against the Lions (5-6), registering 12 stuffs to LMU’s five, while helping to hold the home team to a .094 hitting percentage as Fleming paced the squad with seven blocks and Quade coming within one stuff of her career-high with five in the match.

As a team, the Illini totaled 10 aces, with Kuper equaling her career-high with five and Quade tying her season-high with three aces.

For the second-straight day the Illini dropped the opening set, but responded right away with a 7-1 start to the second en route to a 20-9 lead before knotting the match at 1-1 with a 25-17 victory. After another fast start – 7-1 to open the third – the Illini continued to lead throughout the period, before four-straight scores ended the set in favor of the Illini, 25-14. Looking to finish off the victory, the Illini scored the first six points of the fourth and wasted little time in taking the 25-11 set win.

With the conclusion of the nonconference schedule, the Illini next open Big Ten Conference action against No. 1 Nebraska on Friday (September 27) at 7:30 p.m. CT, before taking on Iowa on Saturday (September 28) at 7 p.m.