The Illinois Springfield Prairie Stars completed their opening weekend with a perfect 4-0 record, defeating Mississippi College (2-2) and Oakland City (1-3) in straight sets. In the 4-0 start, senior setter Lexi Hall became the UIS All-Time leader in assists, collecting 1,566 for her career. In addition, Tiffany Wentworth joined the 1,000 assist club, becoming just the fourth player to do so at UIS in the Division II era.
GAME ONE: ILLINOIS SPRINGFIELD 3, MISSISSIPPI COLLEGE 0
In their first contest of the day, UIS swept Mississippi College 25-14, 25-16, 25-11, once again attacking at an incredible clip, attacking .382 for this match. The Prairie Stars opened up the match on an 8-3 run before taking control with a 10-1 stretch to take a 19-7 lead. UIS closed out the first set with four of the last five points, ending on a kill from Erin Ripple.
A 5-0 run in the second set gave UIS an early lead while an impressive eight consecutive points in the third took control of the match.
UIS committed just 10 errors in the match, including just two in the final set. After attacking at a .310 clip in the opening set, that number ballooned to .417 in each of the final two, as UIS racked up 44 kills opposite just 10 errors.
Alyssa Hasler led the way with an incredible 14 kills and one error on 20 total attacked, good for a .650 attack percentage — which is second all-time in a single-game and only the second time a player has hit over .600 — with a minimum of 15 attacks.
Lexi Hall added 17 assists while Wentworth tallied 14 as they each reach the milestones previously stated in the win.
Ally Vicsik had a team-high 14 digs while freshman Kenzie Hendon added 11.
Hall talked about her record-breaking performance after the match, “It means so much because my hitters obviously do so much for me, and it just means that each year I’ve had amazing, successful hitters. It’s such a team record and it just adds to this perfect weekend.”
Wentworth, who had 61 assists across the four matches, now sits at 1,017 career assists, which is fourth all-time and just 67 away from third.
“Tiff and I have grown up and matured as players together, so the fact we each broke records in the same weekend is an awesome feeling,” added Hall.
GAME TWO: ILLINOIS SPRINGFIELD 3, OAKLAND CITY 0
In the final match of the weekend, the Prairie Stars continued their dominance as they committed just 11 errors across the three-set victory. Accumulating 36 kills, UIS also was dominate on the block, tallying 12 on the game, including seven from Hasler alone. The junior middle kept up her offensive supremacy as well, collecting nine kills in the finale, giving her a team-high 40 on the season so far, attacking at a .493 clip.
The Prairie Stars took the match 25-17, 25-10, 25-15 as they held Oakland City to a negative attack percentage on the match.
Brianna Bush had five aces on the match as UIS had 11 in total. Taylor Bauer concluded her first weekend in navy and gold with 25 total kills and a .421 attack percentage.
“This first week was great,” said Bauer. “Ever since I got here, I’ve been welcomed with open arms. The momentum was going for us this weekend and everybody was doing their part and it was a great team effort all around.”
PRAIRIE STAR NOTES: UIS is off to their best start in Division II history, eclipsing the 2-0 start in both 2013 and 2014 … UIS will open up GLVC play against #8 Lewis University on September 14th in Springfield, IL … The Prairie Stars outhit their opponents .340-to-.025 over the four game stretch … UIS totaled 28.5 total blocks against just 8.5 from their opponents.
UIS to add Football? Athletic Director’s tweet sparks rumors…
Tweets this week from University of Illinois Springfield, Director of Athletics Jim Sarra @UISADJS suggest the school will be officially announcing that it will be adding football to its list of NCAA sports. Based on current conference play, its assumed that if the rumors are true, the UIS Prairie Stars Football team would compete in the GLVC with other football schools like Quincy University, McKendree, Indianapolis, & Truman State.
We are still waiting for official word from the University regarding the addition of football, when they will start, or where they will play. UIS Director of Athletics Jim Sarra tweeted this:
— Jim Sarra (@UISADJS) November 22, 2017
Current 2017 GLVC Football Programs & Standings – SEE ALL HERE
Illinois Springfield Receives Six-Figure Pledge from SASA
The University of Illinois Springfield Department of Athletics took a large step in their stadium turf project last week, as the Springfield Area Soccer Association (SASA), pledged a six-figure gift to the University.
The gift totals $150,000 and will be entirely contributed to the turf project. This is the largest gift to date for the project.
Laura Calderon, the acting President of SASA, spoke on the donation, “SASA has always had a fantastic relationship with UIS, and we are really looking forward to forging an even greater partnership on their turf project. At SASA, we pride ourselves in being the premier youth soccer club in central Illinois. The enhanced collaboration with UIS and their soccer programs will help us provide the best opportunities for our players, setting them up for success and continuing our tradition of excellence.”
SASA — an organization that focuses on providing a total, well-rounded and positive soccer experience — has been a staple to Springfield soccer since 1984. SASA is home to 34 teams and nearly 500 players, ranging from youth teams as young as four years old all the way to the high school level.
“This generous act from SASA is a testament to not only what they do for Springfield youth soccer, but how they enhance the entire Springfield community,” said Director of Athletics, Jim Sarra. “SASA has always been a great partner for UIS Athletics and this gift is yet another example of that.”
“SASA’s partnership with UIS on their turf field project will provide our players the opportunity to regularly practice on the best possible surface,” added Calderon. “This will enhance our ability to be competitive in leagues and tournaments that play most of their games on a similar surface.”
The Springfield Area Soccer Association (SASA) has fostered the development of a number of outstanding athletes many of whom have gone on to play in college and beyond. Our complex on the west side of the University of Illinois Springfield hosts many local area high school games. SASA strives to encourage and assist in the development, growth and improvement of soccer at all levels within the community. It is our firm belief that the only way SASA can survive and grow is through the active participation of you, the people involved in soccer.
Prairie Stars Hang Tough With #3 Lewis University – Volleyball
The University of Illinois Springfield volleyball team held their own with the number three ranked team in the nation in the Lewis Flyers (8-1, 1-0), but ultimately fell in straight sets: 27-25, 25-20, 25-20. This was the second straight top-ten team the Prairie Stars have played, taking a set off #9 Augustana (SD) a week ago.
This was the first true home game for the Prairie Stars (5-4, 0-1) as they opened the season two weeks ago with the Capital Classic in the first week back from summer. “The crowd was amazing tonight,” said senior libero Ally Vicsik. “I can’t thank them enough for being here and cheering and I don’t think we could have been able to keep the energy up without them tonight.”
In the first set, UIS jumped out to a 5-3 lead on a kill from Jailyn Borum, but Lewis responded with five straight points to take an 8-5 lead before Alyssa Hasler ended that rally. UIS combatted the Lewis run with four of the next five points to tie the set at nine.
Down 15-12, it was Borum again with a kill to cut the deficit to 15-13 before the two teams traded points and saw the Prairie Stars trail 17-15. After a kill from the Flyers, UIS rallied for five consecutive points to take a 20-18 lead, forcing the #3 Flyers into a timeout. A kill from Alli Splitt and error from the Flyers gave UIS a 23-21 advantage, but the Flyers scored three straight points to take a 24-23 lead and land on set point.
A service error from the Flyers extended the opening set before the Prairie Stars fended off another set point on a kill from Borum. The Flyers, however, took the next two points to take the opening set 27-25.
“We played really tough in the first set and they just put it where we weren’t,” added Vicsik. “Our block was there and our defense was picking up attacks, but this was the toughest we have played all season.”
In the second, the Flyers got out to an early 6-3 lead and did just enough to hold on the entire set. The Prairie Stars got within one but could never tie the score. UIS ran off five of seven points to cut the deficit to 24-20, but Lewis ended the set on a kill to take a 2-0 lead.
The third set began with three straight points from the Flyers before taking a 7-2 advantage. Trailing 23-15, UIS was on the verge of defeat but rattled off five straight points to force Lewis into a timeout at 23-20. The final two points went to the Flyers though, as they closed out the three-set win.
This was the second straight top-ten team the Prairie Stars faced, but the tough schedule is bringing out the best in the team. “Right now, we know how good we can play; it’s just maintaining that every night. Each match, we have come in and played better than the day before and playing teams of this caliber is helping us get better because they are pushing us and we are getting comfortable with our abilities.”
Taylor Bauer led the way for UIS with 11 kills against just two errors while Borum and Hasler each added seven kills. Lexi Hall totaled 16 assists while Tiffany Wentworth added 14, along with eight digs. Vicsik had 11 digs and added two aces, giving her 10 on the season and 18 for her career.
UIS will return home on Saturday, September 16th to face Quincy University (1-8, 0-1) in an intra-divisional match at 3:00 PM. These two teams will square off again at Quincy on October 31st.
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