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Illini Earn B1G Sweep Over Iowa

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CHAMPAGNE, fig. The Illinois volleyball team took just an hour and 25 minutes to earn its first sweep in Big Ten Conference action when the Illini defeated Iowa, 3-0 (25-12, 25-20, 25-20) on Wednesday (13 October) night at Huff Hall.

De Illini (12-6, 4-3 B1G) had a balanced attack as a junior Jessica Nunge and sophomore Raina Terry led the way with nine kills each hitting percentages of .391 and .300 respectively, while graduate student Megan Cooney and junior Kyla Swanson each added eight kills in the night.

red shirt junior Diana Brown provided 32 assists en route to lead the Illini to a .326 team attack clip, while also notching four blocks and a pair of service aces.

Senior Taylor Kuper recorded a team-high 14 digs, with Cooney adding 10 digs when the Illini captured the Hawkeyes (2-15, 0-7 B1G) to a 0.099 success rate. UI also unblocked Iowa, 10 to 2.5, with junior Kennedy Collins equivalent to a season-high with seven blocks in the win.

After an early 5-5 tie in the opening set, the Hawkeyes jumped out to an 8-6 lead, before four consecutive scores kickstarted a 9-1 run to push the Illini forward 15-9 after a Collins and Terry block. Back-to-back Iowa points stopped the Illini momentum, but only temporarily as UI used a 10-1 run to take the first set dominantly, 25-12, with the home team closing the stanza with six straight points , capped by a Collins kill.

In a closer start to the second, the two teams went back and forth until the Illini broke a 9-9 tie with three unanswered scores for a 12-9 lead. Back-to-back Nunge kills started a 4-1 run to give UI a 17-12 lead, but the Hawkeyes fought back to close within 18-16 with their own 4-1 run. Iowa closed three within two, but it would be as close as they got if the Illini took four of the last five points for a 25-20 set two win and a 2-0 lead in the game.

It was all Hawkeyes to open the third, as the visitors took an early 11-4 lead. The Illini responded with a 7-0 run with a pair of Brown aces to make it 11-11. After trading points in subsequent rallies, a Cooney ace pushed the Illini ahead 16-14. After a Hawkeye kill narrowed the lead to one, the Illini rattled five consecutive points to gain a 21-15 advantage over a Terry ace. The two teams then traded points until a Nunge kill made match point at 24-17. Iowa fought away three match points to junior Kyla Swanson converted in fourth with a kill for the 25-20 set win and 3-0 sweep.

Illinois then travels to Lincoln, Nebraska, to have it against No. 9 Nebraska on Saturday (Oct. 16) at the Devaney Center at 6 p.m. CT.

For more Fighting Illini volleyball news, stay tuned to FightingIllini.com and follow @IlliniVBall on social media: Twitter | Instagram | facebook.

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