CHAMPAIGN (WCIA) — Illinois sophomore Raina Terry is one of two players for the Fighting Illini who have seen game action, but never in front of a packed Huff Hall.
“When I was recruited and I came to a couple games,” says Terry. “It’s just electric in there, especially when it’s stuffed.”
“We actually talked about it yesterday and being excited to do it,” says head coach Chris Tamas. “It might seem overwhelming but it’s what we came here to do and have fun with it.”
Even though home fans haven’t been able to see her play in-person, Terry has become one of the key pieces for the Illini. The 6’3″ outside hitter led Illinois in kills as a freshman in the spring, and used the short offseason to work on small improvements to her game.
“I tried to just focus on small things,” says Terry. “There wasn’t a lot of time to work on anything huge. Communication, mental health, just the whole mental game itself.”
“Her attacking and blocking, I think she’s just that much smarter of an attacker,” says Tamas. “Trying to mix up new shots as she’s going through, I think she’s done nice to improve in a short period of time.”
Terry is already out to a fast start after three matches leading the team so far with 37 kills and 7 service aces. This year is the Ohio native’s first crack at a normal college schedule, which means welcoming reigning Final Four team Washington for a non-conference clash, making her first chance to see the home fans a high stakes match-up.
“I’m just going to give it my all this weekend,” says Terry. “That’s all really you can ever do. Fans will add a form of pressure, but pressure is only what you make it.”