LEXINGTON, Ky. (WCIA) — After dropping the first set, Illinois volleyball won three straight to beat West Virginia in four Friday night at Memorial Coliseum 23-25, 25-12, 25-22, 25-20. The Illini (21-11) will now face the winner of No. 7 Kentucky, the host of this weekend’s regional, or Southeast Missouri State, in the second round on Saturday.
“Hats off to West Virginia for pushing us to the limits,” Illinois head coach Chris Tamas said. “We’re obviously happy that we’re able to advance.”
Sophomore Raina Terry led Illinois with 18 kills with a .317 hitting percentage, to go along with 9 digs. Senior Megan Cooney had 15 kills on a .375 clip, with Jessica Nunge (13), Kennedy Collins (11) and Kyla Collins (10) also posting double-digit kill totals. After a match high eight errors in the first set, the Illini cleaned things up, only committing 11 the rest of the match.
“They handled our serves and that’s something that we pride ourselves on, so hats off to them for that,” Kuper said. “We just said to play within ourselves, and that they would come down a little bit, and obviously it worked out well for us.”
“We face pressure everyday in the Big Ten, but it was definitely a different kind of pressure,” Terry said. “There were definitely jitters in the first set, but I tried my best to be external and lean on my teammates, and after that the jitters were all gone.”