No. 23 Illinois tallies win against No. 6 Texas in intense five-set marathon
AUSTIN, Texas -- Jocelynn Birks led all players with 21 kills and 12 digs Friday as the No. 23 Illinois Fighting Illini earned a five-set win (25-18, 21-25, 21-25, 25-19, 13-15) against the No. 6 Texas Longhorns at the Texas Invitational.
Birks added one ace and two blocks for Illinois (4-4) while Anna Dorn added 12 kills with no errors and seven blocks while hitting .706. Annie Luhrsen registered 52 assists, three aces and three blocks while Liz McMahon chipped in eight kills and 11 blocks.
The Longhorns (6-3) were led by outside hitter Haley Eckerman, who registered 17 kills and nine digs. Khat Bell added 11 kills and five blocks for the Longhorns while setter Hannah Allison had a season-high two kills and 35 assists.
The Longhorns came out swinging hard in set one. They launched the set with a 5-1 run, punctuated by a pair of Bell kills and another from Eckerman. Bell and Eckerman finished the set with five kills apiece.
Momentum shifted early in the second for the Fighting Illini, who ended up hitting .414 in the set to even the match. Illinois broke a 12-12 tie in the third with the 6-2 run to pull away and take the 2-1 advantage.
Trailing 13-12 in the fourth, Eckerman sparked three consecutive points for the 15-13 score. After Illinois took a 17-16 lead, Bell started a run of seven straight points as the Longhorns would force a fifth and deciding set.
Illinois opened the fifth with a 5-2 run, but two kills from Eckerman helped the Horns to score four straight and take the lead. Bell and Allison combined on a block for the 9-8 Texas lead, but back-to-back blocks by Illinois snapped the 12-12 tie and helped earn Illinois the win.