Nunge & Burbage named to All-Tournament Team as Illini Top Ole Miss

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Oxford, Mississippi- 17 Volleyball Illinois picked up a 3-1 win over weekend host Ole Miss on Sunday for the team’s first victory of the season. Three Illini achieved double-digit wins with Raina Terry and Jessica Nunge each record 15.

nunge and Kayla Burbage were named to the Ole Miss Invitational All-Tournament Team for their efforts over the weekend.

Illinois is now 3-0 against Ole Miss, earning either team’s first home-court victory as the previous two games were neutral-site contests.

For the second day in a row, Illinois scored the first point of the game with Sunday’s tally coming from an assist from Rylee Hinton and Jessica Nunge. The Fighting Illini would first reach double digits with a 10-6 lead and push it to a 12-7 margin to force an Ole Miss timeout. Illinois would eventually take a 20-13 lead and close out the frame with a 25-16 win. The Orange and Blue ran to a .375 completion percentage while holding the Rebels to a .065 mark.

The second set action saw the Illini put together a 6-0 run to take a 12-8 lead early in the period. Ole Miss would drag and end up tying the score at 19-19 for a timeout for Orange and Blue. The Rebels used a 4-0 run covering the break for a 21-19 lead and would take a 23-21 lead. From there, Nunge hit for a kill and the combination of Kayla Burbage and Rylee Hinton teamed up for a block to tie at 23-23. The hosts struck for the next point, but Illinois closed the frame with a 3-0 run to go up 2-0 in the game with the 26-24 win.

Ole Miss fought back after the break and won the third set 25-18 to avoid the sweep. The Rebels ran to a .371 hit percentage while the Illini were limited to seven kills and a .071 mark in the frame.

The fourth set saw the Illini trail early but force eight ties and find themselves on the right side of three lead changes in a 25-20 win. Led 7-3 against the Rebels, Illinois fought to the end to tie the frame at 10-10. From there, consecutive Nunge aces pushed the score to 12-10 as she equaled her career high. The Rebels would respond with their own run to take a 14-12 lead and hold a 15-14 advantage at media timeout. Illinois would win a challenge to take a 20-19 lead before Ole Miss tied the score one final time. From there, the Illini would close out the victory on a 5-0 run.

The match saw 22 draws and 13 lead changes throughout.

Illinois operated with a collective offensive efficiency of .230 throughout the game as Diana Brown delivered 37 assists. Three Illini posted double-digit wins with 15 coming from both Raina Terry and Nunge while Kayla Burbage added 10.

Hinton led the way for the Orange and Blue with six blocks while Burbage (4) and Kyla Swanson (2) each also added several blocks.

In his second match as Illini’s libero, Caroline Barnes had a team-best 13 digs and added four assists. Brown added nine digs to his side – just shy of another double-double.

Illinois hit for eight service line aces. Nunge led the way with four while Brooke Mosher recorded three and Terry added one more.

The Illini are back in action next weekend, September 3-4, in Boulder, Colorado for the B1G/Pac-12 Challenge. Illinois takes on Colorado on Saturday, followed by No. 8 Washington on Sunday.

Remarks:
– Entrances: Rylee Hinton, Diana Brown, Kyla Swanson, Kayla Burbage, Caroline Barnes, Raina Terry, Jessica Nunge
– The Illini wore long-sleeved orange jerseys for the first time this season.
Jessica Nunge matched his career high with four service aces. She has now hit the mark five times in her career.
– Nunge and Kayla Burbage were named to the Ole Miss Invitational All-Tournament Team
– Illinois is now 3-0 against Ole Miss, earning either team’s first home-court victory as the previous two games were neutral-site contests.
– Teams have started changing benches again between sets for the first time since 2019.

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