Sept. 29, 2007
EVANSTON, Ill. -- Illinois came into Welsh-Ryan Arena Saturday night and left with a sweep of Northwestern, 30-25, 30-25, 30-23.
With the loss, Northwestern falls to 10-5 on the season, 1-3 in the Big Ten. Illinois improves to 10-4 on the year, 2-2 in the conference with its win.
Game one was a completely back-and-forth affair through the first two-thirds, with neither team holding a more than a three-point advantage. Late in the game, Illinois edged out to a 23-21 lead, causing NU head coach Keylor Chan to use a timeout. The Illini continued to pull away from that point to take a 30-25 game one win.
In game two, Illinois launched itself on a run midway through to take an eight-point lead, 19-11. A quick 4-1 spurt from the 'Cats featuring a kill from Brittney Aldridge (Hampshire, Ill./Hampshire) and a pair of kills from Brittani Gray (Cincinnati, Ohio/Sycamore) brought the deficit back to five, 20-15, but Illinois again pulled away.
Northwestern answered to bring itself back to within two, 24-22, on a kill from Chelsy Hyser (Belvidere, Ill./Belvidere). Illinois fought off the NU comeback, though, to win game two by an identical 30-25 score.
Gray had a strong second game, hitting .556 for NU with six kills on nine swings with one error.
Game three was much tighter throughout, with NU holding a 19-17 lead later in the stanza after a kill by Aldridge. Illinois seized momentum right at that mark, however, riding a 13-4 run into the finish line for a 30-23 game three win and a 3-0 sweep in the match.
Gray finished with a team-best 14 kills for NU, while Hyser had 12. Aldridge hit .650 in two games, terminating six swings on eight attempts with no errors. Playing as the libero in game three only, sophomore Emma Pollert (Seymour, Ind./Seymour) had a team- and career-high 11 digs.
Northwestern returns to action at 5:30 p.m. CT Wednesday, Oct. 3, at Michigan State in a match to be broadcast live on the Big Ten Network. To get the Big Ten Network, contact your cable provider or go to bigtennetwork.com.