CHAMPAIGN (WCIA) — Illinois volleyball is once again proving, it has no problem playing in the fifth set. The Illini beat No. 19 Tennessee twice over the weekend, both matches that went to five sets. It’s a trend that’s nothing new for third year head coach Chris Tamas, his teams are 13-4 in the deciding set.
“Those 5 set wins were huge and this past weekend was a huge team learning moment,” Illinois redshirt freshman setter Diana Brown said. “We together as a team learned what we can do and what we really shouldn’t do this weekend.”
The Illini moved up to No. 5 in the rankings after sweeping the Vols in the home-and-home series. Friday night UT took a 2-0 lead before the UI bounced back to force a fifth set, pulling out the victory. It flipped Sunday, with Illinois winning the first two frames before Tennessee won the next two.
“It doesn’t always look good or feel that good, but looking back on film, Tennessee is a quality opponent and happy to be 2-0 after a weekend,” Tamas said. “I think that we learned a lot from it, and again, glad to escape with that 2-0.”
Illinois doesn’t return home until the end of the month, hitting the road the next three weekends. It starts with a trip to Iowa City for two matches in the Big Ten/Pac 12 Challenge. Illinois will face Washington on Friday afternoon, then play Colorado on Saturday.