Smile Politely

Illinois Volleyball wins the 2015 Illini Classic

Coach Kevin Hambly and his team started the season off on the right foot. Just as they did last year, the team pulled together and won the season opening Illini Classic, defeating Louisville, Miami (Ohio), and Creighton over the weekend. While there are still plenty of matches to be played between now and December, the Illini are three steps closer to their quest of facing off in the 2105 NCAA Championship.

Over 3,300 fans were on hand to cheer the ladies on to victory over Louisville on Friday night. During the opening festivities, Defensive Specialist McKenna Kelsay electrified the crowd with her rendition of The Star Spangled Banner. It is not uncommon at a match to experience the equivalent of a season’s worth of excitement packed into a single evening. The fan base is incredible, and independent support organizations such as the Illini Networkers and the Spike Squad only add to the energy and enthusiasm.

The Illini returned to the court Saturday morning to face Miami (Ohio), and again later in the evening to square off against Creighton.

The Illini, ranked 8th prior to Friday night’s match, won’t play at home again until October 9, 2015, when they will face #1 ranked Penn State. The team will spend the entire month of September on the road, which will include play in the Big Ten/Pac-12 Challenge, the Shocker Volleyball Classic, and the Red Lyon Invitational.

Best wishes, ladies, and we will see you when you get back.

Illinois vs Louisville (27-25, 25-23, 26-24)

McKenna Kelsay singing the “Star Spangled Banner”

Defensive Specialist Danielle Davis serves

Outside Hitter Jocelynn Birks

Illini Networker Tom Rozanski and Networker President Rick Borup

Broadcaster Dave Loane

Illinois vs Miami of Ohio (25-11, 25-18, 25-22)

Assistant Coach Hillary Haen Tennant

Setter/Defensive Specialist Allison Palmer

Defensive Specialist Julia Conard

Outside Hitter Michelle Strizak goes up for the kill

Illinois vs Creighton (25-22, 25-20, 25-17)

Opposite Hitter Naya Crittenden

Spike Squad

Outside Hitter Jocelynn Birks

Middle Blocker Kathryn Polkoff and Setter Alexis Viliunas

Ball Girl Esther Brown

Head Coach Kevin Hambly

For more information regarding the Illinois Volleyball program, visit

More Articles