Cats unable to keep up with winning ways, fall to Illinois (Volleyball)

Nick Halpern

After two strong weekends, the Northwestern volleyball team (16-11, 7-8 Big Ten) was looking to continue their momentum in a rare mid-week game against second-place Illinois (20-5, 11-4).

However, it was the Illini who came out fighting, sweeping NU (30-22, 30-28, 30-27) and taking the season series 2-0.

The Wildcats took a five-point lead in the first game, but lost 18 of the final 23 points. In the second game, they were down eight, but got back to 29-28 before Illinois killed the final point.

Illinois was able to hold a small lead for most of the third game to complete the sweep.

The Cats weren’t able to capitalize on an opportunity to go above .500 in the Big Ten for the first time this season. To qualify for the tournament, they will likely have to win three of their final five matches.

NU will play their next match Friday against No. 23 Wisconsin at home.

“We didn’t play the way we were capable of,” said head coach Keylor Chan. “But now we look toward Friday and working for another win at home.”