SEATTLE - Once again, the Husky volleyball team is in sync with the Husky football team, as both squads are heading for Illinois this weekend, with the sixth-ranked volleyball team set to face its first ranked opponent of the season on Friday in 14th-ranked Illinois. Washington (4-0) will have a day off Saturday and will travel to Chicago to take in the UW-Illinois battle on the gridiron, before finishing the trip on Sunday with a match against Loyola Chicago.
Two weeks ago the Huskies started their season with a win over Boise State, one day before the football team opened its season with its own win against BSU.
The match in Illinois will be part of the Illini Classic, which also features defending NCAA Champion and No. 2-ranked Texas, Arizona State, and Youngstown State. Illinois has targeted its match against the Huskies for its annual “Stuff Huff” promotion, looking to bring one of its largest crowds of the season to Huff Hall. Illinois is 7-0 in its previous Stuff Huff nights. The Fighting Illini started the year unranked, but has already played four ranked teams, winning three, to jump into the rankings. Illinois defeated then-No. 18 Florida State, then-No. 17 Kentucky, and then-No. 11 Iowa State, and has lost to Long Beach State and then-No. 14 San Diego. Illinois was the 2011 NCAA runner-up.
Loyola Chicago is in the Missouri Valley Conference and returns all but one starter from a team that went 17-12 last year. The Ramblers are 5-2 so far this season and won the East Carolina Invitational last week.
The Huskies are coming off a pair of wins over the Canadian National Team in exhibition matches played last week at KeyArena and at Alaska Airlines Arena. In both matches, the Huskies came out on top in four sets. Senior Jenna Orlandini was named the Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Week after she had 49 digs over the two matches against Team Canada. Krista Vansant had 15 kills in each match to lead the Dawgs, and Kylin Muñoz added 20 kills against just one error.