CHAMPAIGN — Cheered on by a packed house at Huff Hall, the No. 3 University of Illinois volleyball team earned a Final Four berth Saturday with a four-set victory over No. 6 Wisconsin in an NCAA Tournament quarterfinal match.
The Illini prevailed 25-19, 15-25, 25-22, 25-12 to advance to the national semifinals Thursday at the Target Center in Minneapolis. Illinois is making its first Final Four appearance since 2011 and will face Big Ten Conference rival Nebraska.
"This moment was a lot of work in the making. I'm really proud of these guys," said Illini head coach Chris Tamas. "Really impressive job by everyone here at the table, and our whole team.
"We're not done yet. I'm really happy for the team. I'm proud of my team and everyone in the program."
Seniors Jordyn Poulter and Ali Bastianelli and junior Jacqueline Quade were named to the All-Region team. Poulter was voted the region's most outstanding player.
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"I think that's probably the best way Jordyn and I could go out on the court," said Bastianelli. "It was really special, and it speaks to our work ethic."
"To celebrate that, not only with our program, but with all the fans and alumni, was a very special moment," added Poulter. "For that to be our last game at Huff, to end it with a W, that's something I'll take with me forever."
Quade had 25 kills and a .379 hitting percentage for the Illini (32-2) in their 17th straight win. Bastianelli had 11 kills on .318 hitting and a match-high seven blocks.
Poulter directed the Illini to a .294 team hitting percentage with 51 assists and had four digs, three kills and two blocks.
Sophomore Morgan O'Brien and freshman Taylor Kuper had 11 and 10 digs, respectively. Junior Ashlyn Fleming had four blocks as Illinois outblocked the Badgers (25-7), 11-10.