The University of Illinois Springfield volleyball team opened up the new season with a pair of sweeps in the Capital Classic, beating both Ohio Valley and Concord University in straight sets. The Prairie Stars open the season 2-0 for the first time since 2014 and just third time since 2010. UIS was led by Erin Ripple, who totaled 19 kills on the day while Alysa Hasler totaled 17 kills and nine digs.
GAME ONE: ILLINOIS SPRINGFIELD 3, OHIO VALLEY 0
In the season opener, UIS came out firing, attacking at a .481 clip in the first set. The Prairie Stars totaled 15 kills in each of the three sets, attacking at a mark of at least .333 in each set, never committing more than five errors.
UIS scored the first seven points of the season and then pushed that lead to 12-2. Five straight points later in the match gave the Prairie Stars a 17-3 advantage, in which they cruised to a 25-9 win in the opening set.
The Prairie Stars would go on to win 25-20 and 25-13 in the final two sets to take their first match of the year.
“We really came out ready to play, especially the first game. We were just excited for these to be the first games of the season, on our court, and started with a bang,” said junior middle Alysa Hasler.
GAME TWO: ILLINOIS SPRINGFIELD 3, CONCORD 0
Much like the first match, UIS jumped out to an early lead, getting up 8-3 in the first set on Concord. A 5-0 run pushed the lead to 14-5, assisted by kills from Tiffany Wentworth and Brianna Bush.
UIS built up a ten-point lead before trading points over the final half of the set to take it 25-15.
The Prairie Stars used a couple three and four point runs in the second set to once again take it from Concord. UIS ended the set with four straight points, ending on a kill from Taylor Bauer, which was the theme of the game.
Bauer had a team-high 12 kills in the second match and always seemed to come up with a big kill when needed. The newcomer had just one error on 22 attacks for a .500 attack percentage.
Hasler added dominance in the middle, collecting 10 kills on 19 attacks while also recording nine digs and two blocks.
As a team, UIS attacked at a .308 clip for the game and .340 mark for the two games combined. Lexi Hall totaled 41 assists on the day while Wentworth added 32. Jailyn Borum totaled a team-high 24 digs while Ally Vicsik added 16 and Kenzie Hendon 15.
Hendon had this to say about her first collegiate match, “It felt amazing, I was really excited but it was the most nervous id ever been playing volleyball but having the support of all the girls made it so much easier and so much more fun. “We’ve definitely been working hard so it’s an amazing start for us to sweep them both.”
Trey Salinas, beginning his third year at the helm, talked about his team’s performance, “It was a great performance from everybody all around, they all did a phenomenal job finding a rhythm. Overall it was a great performance to open the season.”
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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