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Saturday, June 22
The Indiana Daily Student


NCAA tournament bid slips after falling to Illinois

Thanksgiving weekend was an eventful one for the women's volleyball team. They posted their first 20 win season since 1999. This season placed head coach Katie Weismiller as IU's most successful coach with 159 career wins, and placing IU squarely on the NCAA Tournament bubble with a 10-10 Big Ten record and 20-12 overall.\nSitting at 10-9 in the Big Ten, the Nov. 30 match against Illinois was crucial for a guaranteed NCAA Tournament bid, but after the Hoosiers fell in four games their fate would be in the hands of the selection committee.\nEarly in the first game, Illlinois blew the game open with a 9-1 run to put the score at 14-6. IU clawed back to a two point deficit to place the score at 29-27, but a kill by llini's junior middle blocker Lisa Argabright closed out game one.\nEarly in game two IU sped to an 8-2 lead, but the Illini proved they had some horsepower of their own by posting an 11-1 run making the score 24-16. Illinois then coasted to a 30-21 win, placing the match at 2-0.\nIU regrouped at halftime and blasted out to a 10-3 lead and defeated the Illini 30-18. The Hoosiers controlled game three's hitting by posting an impressive .316 hitting percentage, to Illini's .067.\nComing into game four, the Hoosiers' momentum during game three's lopsided victory had shifted in the visitor's favor. Illinois led 8-3 early in the game and managed to keep IU at bay by winning the game 30-26 and the match 3-1.\n"Illinois recorded 20 blocks in four games," Weismiller said. "You have to give them credit. They got off to a fast start in game one and kept the pressure on throughout the match."\nThe Illini also managed to keep balls alive with long stanzas throughout the match.\n"They were scrappy at times, keeping balls up and in play, and blocking a lot," sophomore middle blocker Katie Pollom said. "We just tried to terminate every opportunity we could."\nSenior libero/outside hitter Hillary Toivonen started the match at the outside hitter position posting five kills and 11 digs while the team groomed sophomore Beth Heimann for the purely defensive libero position. Sophomore outside hitter Chirstina Archibald's ten kills moved her into a tie with Anne Eastman's 1994 record for single season kills honors with 539.\nSaturday's loss placed the Hoosiers in a three-way tie with Michigan and Northwestern for sixth place in the Big Ten. The tie could hurt IU's chances; the Big Ten is expected to earn six or seven tournament bids. As the only team of three with 20 wins along with decisive wins against both the Wolverines and Wildcats, Weismiller said they have a chance.\n"(An NCAA tournament decision) is in somebody else's hands now," Weismiller said. "We'll keep our fingers crossed. That's about all we can do right now."\nThe Nov. 29 sweeping 3-0 match against Purdue had IU in top form. The Hoosiers came out of the gate with a 20-12 lead in game one and never looked back, winning 30-23.\nGame two was highly contested with neither team leading by more than four points. With the teams knotted at 23-23, IU managed to put together a three point mini-run to take a 26-23 advantage. Pollom spiked home an end to the tight game with a final score of 30-28.\nThe final game of the match was another battle for the Hoosiers, starting out with a 17-14 deficit until IU managed to tie the game at 17 apiece. Again tied at 24, the Hoosiers stifled the opponents with a six point run to win the game 30-24 and sweeping the match 3-0.\nArchibald posted a match-high 16 kills while junior outside hitter Monique Pritz added nine kills of her own along with five block assists and a .500 hitting percentage.\nThe weekend's split also marked the end for Toivonen's home career, but she said she remains hopeful for a postseason run.\n"It's tough to go out with a loss, but I'm hopeful it's not over yet," Toivonen said. "I have received such great support at Indiana University, and it's been a wonderful career. I really appreciate the time I have spent with my teammates"

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