The Illinois Tech women’s volleyball team (0-4) played Lake Forest College (3-2) for the second time on the season on Tuesday night, making another short drive to the northern suburbs of Chicago. After taking the first set, the Scarlet Hawks dropped two and three before forcing a fifth. Lake Forest would edge the Scarlet Hawks in a tight conclusion to the match, defeating Illinois Tech 3-2.
- Lake Forest 3, Illinois Tech 2 (26-24, 12-25, 20-25, 25-20, 12-15)
How it Happened
- After the Foresters took a 5-2 lead to start, the Scarlet Hawks started to establish control offensively. Using a balanced attack, Illinois Tech built a three-point lead at 15-12 before the Foresters were able to close the gap and Karen Marrufo-Zubaran, however, helped keep Illinois Tech afloat and ultimately take the lead back thanks to her kills for the team’s 17th, 18th, and 19th points of the set. With the Scarlet Hawks down 23-22, Natalie Freund and Sara Hassell delivered kills to regain an advantage. After the Foresters forced the set to go beyond 25, Courtney Curcio calmly delivered a service ace to give the Scarlet Hawks set one.
- Lake Forest rode a strong offense themselves to control the second and third sets, giving the hosts a 2-1 advantage. In set four, however, Ellie Leach‘s two kills helped the Scarlet Hawks score the first four points of the set to establish an Illinois Tech tone. It was a lead the Hawks never relinquished, as the Illinois Tech defense forced the Foresters into several late mistakes. Illinois Tech’s last five points of the set came on LFC attack or service errors, once of which was a key block by Freund and Hassell.
- Momentum remained in Illinois Tech’s favor in the fifth, with Jessica Weaver, Leach, and Justine Bracco delivering kills to start things off. Illinois Tech built a lead as high as three, but despite a mid-set run of kills by Hassell, the Foresters took a 10-9 lead on a Madison Stevens kill. From that point forward, the Hawks were unable to pull back ahead.
Scarlet Hawk Standouts
- Calling the Scarlet Hawks a balanced offensive team would be putting it mildly, as five different players had six or more kills. Hassell (10 kills, two solo blocks, two assisted blocks) led the way in the category.
- Marrufo-Zubaran tallied nine kills and a career-high 31 digs for the Scarlet Hawks.
- Both Bracco and Weaver had eight kills, four blocks, and hitting percentages over .200%. Bracco had two solo blocks, two assisted blocks, and a .238% mark. Weaver totaled four assisted blocks and .263 hit percentage.
- Both Freund and Leach contributed six kills. Freund also had 10 digs and two block assists.
- Sinjin Acuna had 25 digs from the back row.
- Both Courtney Darling (18 assists, 19 digs) and Allison Wilkins (21 assists, 11 digs) had double-doubles from the setter position.
Stats to Know
- Illinois Tech’s defense was key to extending the match, as the Scarlet Hawks outdug the Foresters 111-103 and recorded 10 total blocks compared to LFC’s five.
- Eight service aces for the Foresters may have been the difference in the match, as the hosts outdid the Hawks by five in the crucial category.
- Three Foresters (Olivia Smith, Isabel Donnelly, and Stevens) recorded over 10 kills. Smith was the team’s leader with 13.
- Women’s volleyball will head west to the state of Colorado, as Illinois Tech will play three matches in Denver between Friday and Saturday. Illinois Tech’s first match of the Johnson and Wales University Tournament will be on Friday against Lewis & Clark College at 4:00 p.m.