CHAMPAIGN (WCIA) — Illinois volleyball is back in the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2019. The Illini ended the season 20-11, earning their 27th appearance in the postseason.

Illinois will travel to Lexington, one of the host sites for this years’ tournament, to take on West Virginia in the first round. If the seeding holds true, and Illinois wins, they’ll face defending national champions Kentucky in the second round.

“Our RPI was good, our strength of schedule was Top-10 and so didn’t have much doubt that we were going to be called, it was just a matter of where we were going to get sent,” says head coach Crhis Tamas. “I always like the draw, I always like who we play up against of course we have West Virginia first play them, and they hopefully get to play Kentucky after that.”

“It’s really exciting, it shows how much hard work we put in to get back to the tournament,” says senior Megan Cooney. “That’s ultimately the goal the entire season is to end up in the tournament and then continue to keep working and do some damage.”

The Illini are coming off one of their best NCAA Tournament appearances back in 2018, where the Illini made a trip to the Final Four.