Sept. 24, 2003
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EVANSTON, Ill. -- Northwestern dominated Illinois in game one of the first Big Ten match this season, but dropped the next three to fall to the Fighting Illini (30-16, 21-30, 15-30, 27-30) Wednesday night at Welsh-Ryan Arena. The Wildcats are now 9-4 overall with the 3-1 loss.
"Tonight was a hard night," said head coach Keylor Chan. "Illinois played well so we have to come back tomorrow and fix what is broken."
Junior outside hitter Jill Buschur (New Bremen, Ohio/New Bremen) led the Wildcats with 13 kills, three block assists and two aces while junior setter Drew Robertson (Long Beach, Calif./Long Beach Poly) had 41 assists and 10 digs in the match. Senior outside hitter Iwona Lodzik (Tarnobrzeg, Poland/Tarnobrzeg) contributed 12 kills and nine digs.
Illinois middle blocker Lisa Argabright led the Fighting Illini with 12 kills, a .409 hitting percentage, two solo blocks and three block assists. The 6-5 senior held a .600 hitting percentage in game two and tallied three kills per game in the win. Junior setter Erin Virtue had 43 assists in the game.
The Wildcats got off to a quick start in game one, up 21-9 on the Illini thanks to six services aces, including two each by sophomore Lizzie Carlson (Palo Alto, Calif./Palo Alto) and Jill Buschur. Northwestern didn't allow more than three consecutive points by Illinois to earn the win.
Game two saw the Fighting Illini come to life, holding the 'Cats to only three consecutive points in the game while Illinois had three four-point streaks. Game three was much of the same with Illinois going on a six-point run late in the game for the win.
Northwestern rebounded by pulling within two late in the fourth, but could not force a game five as they fell 27-30.
"We'll continue to work to get better, learn this lesson, and get back to winning," said Chan. "We don't want difficult starts to become a trend, so we'll work that much harder to rebound from this and be ready for our next game."
The Wildcats look to pull even this Friday night as they travel to Madison to face No. 23 Wisconsin. The Badgers are 8-3 heading into their Big Ten opener. Game time is set for 7 p.m.