Volleyball: Getting to know No. 3 Illinois
Sunday night the Central Michigan volleyball team learned that it will face the No. 3 overall team in the nation Illinois to start the tournament.
So who are the Fighting Illini, and what makes them good?
“They’re low error as attackers, they hit from a high contact point, they’re tall and they serve tough,” said CMU head coach Erik Olson. “They have a mindset of, ‘It’s okay to serve tough and have some errors as long as you have some reward out of that.’”
With a philosophy like that you do get your aces but also have errors and that is one of Illinois’ flaws. With a tall team it’s tougher to get to the ball on defense.
“They have high service errors and they’re OK on defense,” Olson said. “We can make a dent in their passing with our serves and their middle blockers are pretty slow.”
Third year head coach Kevin Hambly has taken his team to the sweet sixteen in both his previous seasons.
The Fighting Illini are led by two senior outside hitters Michelle Bartsch and Colleen Ward. Junior middle blocker Erin Johnson, freshman middle blocker Anna Dorn, junior setter Annie Luhrsen and senior defensive specialist Rachel Feldman have appeared in all 120 sets for the team.
They also have a 6-foot-6 freshman outside hitter in Liz McMahon.
“Their two outside hitters (Bartsch and Ward) are pretty good and McMahon’s shot chart is difficult to defend,” Olson said.
Some players might think blocking against a 6-foot-6 athletic hitter is intimidating but senior middle blocker Kaitlyn Schultz welcomes the challenge.
“I’m not too worried about it, people have tried to hit over me before and have jumped higher, it’s whatever,” Schultz said.
So how do they compare with CMU?
Luhrsen is No. 29 in the nation in assists per set, just 10 spots ahead of CMU’s sophomore setter Kelly Maxwell. Illinois top blocker Dorn comes in at No. 32 in the nation whereas CMU’s top blockers (Schultz/sophomore middle blocker Danielle Gotham) aren’t in the top 200.
The Fighting Illini’s top digger is sophomore libero (defensive specialist) Jennifer Beltran who is No. 189 in the nation, Chippewa’s sophomore libero Jenna Coates is No. 154. Dorn is their top hitter with a .341 attack average where Schultz is No. 5 in the nation at .414.
Leave a Comment
Like us on Facebook
- Kellie: We miss miss you Carolyn. You still are remember on the socc…
- anonymous: I know this girl was in the wrong, but, put yourself in her …
- : What is the standing cement block structure going to be for?…
- 5k: Solved the case!! …
- : SOLVED THE CASE …
• Is your baby graduating CMU? Place a personal greeting and photo in CM Life's Baby Graduates special pages. Download the form here
• Contact local movers in Mount Pleasant to help with all of your moving needs.
• Download Campus Cash Coupons!
• Search for local apartments
• Add your link here