CHAMPAIGN (WCIA) — Illinois volleyball is finally ready to play on its home court after a month of matches on the road. The Illini (5-5) open up Big Ten play this weekend at Huff Hall, hosting Maryland Friday night at 8 p.m. before Northwestern comes to Champaign on Saturday night for a 7 p.m. match.

“I’m so pumped we’ve been away obviously for like a month now and it’s fun to play in front of a big crowd but it’s more fun obviously when that big crowd is for you and not against you,” Illinois sophomore libero Caroline Barnes said.

“I know the team is itching to get back home,” Illinois head coach Chris Tamas said. “We’ve had a really tough road schedule and we’ve played in front of some really big environments and we had to get ready for the Big Ten.”

Illinois is in the midst of an up-and-down season so far. At 5-5, the Illini fell out of the rankings this week after dropping two matches over the weekend in Milwaukee, losing to Illinois State and No. 19 Marquette, both in five sets.