Illini Volleyball 2019

#26
Couple of thoughts. I think Kuper has the ability to hit from the back row if we have a setter who is able to get her the ball. I wonder if Prince's shoulder will hold up for an entire season. Hopefully they can rest her periodically as the season moves along.
 
#27
Who their 2nd MB will be might be the most interesting question.

Based on what the university has put out, they list Fleming as the only returning MB, they list Swanson (Fr.) and Hinton (Fr.) as MBs, Collins (Fr.) as an OH and they list Holzman (Fr.) as both an OH and a MB.
Hinton has looked really good in the Spring and is going to be the Illini participant on the B1G European trip. She has a good shot at being that second MB.
 
#28
you feel me, dog?
Elmhurst
Hinton has looked really good in the Spring and is going to be the Illini participant on the B1G European trip. She has a good shot at being that second MB.
Good info, thanks. Am curious, just how good is Bruna? Elite? Difference maker? Starter?

Also, why wasn't Holzman announced with the other 3? Not official until she graduates from HS? (yeah, I'm clueless)
 
#29
Good info, thanks. Am curious, just how good is Bruna? Elite? Difference maker? Starter?

Also, why wasn't Holzman announced with the other 3? Not official until she graduates from HS? (yeah, I'm clueless)
The two DSs did not sign letters of intent, as they are probably coming here on their own dime, so they could not be commented upon until their enrollment. The timing of adding Bruna to the roster and announcing her is partially based upon the decision making process of the NCAA and partially based upon the mysteries of life. Holzman, along with the other signees, was announced when she signed her letter of intent in November.

Would have loved to have seen Bruna during the spring season to see how good she really is. We probably won't know until the start of the season.
 
#30
Good info, thanks. Am curious, just how good is Bruna? Elite? Difference maker? Starter?
People are saying she might be as good as Quade (who was a first-team All-American). She is being talked about as a 6-rotation starter. There is a reason that Texas really wanted her, and Illinois was willing to go through everything with the NCAA and wait a year for her.
 
#31
Couple of thoughts. I think Kuper has the ability to hit from the back row if we have a setter who is able to get her the ball. I wonder if Prince's shoulder will hold up for an entire season. Hopefully they can rest her periodically as the season moves along.
Kuper is all of 5'-8" and had a grand total of 3 kills last year (probably on well placed dinks). She's not hitting out the back row or the front row.

The only two on the roster the the setters will go to out of the back are Quade and probably Vrankovic, which is why I'd expect them to be opposite in the rotation so one is in front and one in back all the time. That would give them four hitting threats on every rotation.
 
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#32
Hinton has looked really good in the Spring and is going to be the Illini participant on the B1G European trip. She has a good shot at being that second MB.
That could well be. Seems like they are most likely going to go with one of Hinton, Holzman, or Swanson in that role.

With Holzman being the national player of the year, even if she hasn't been a natural MB to this point, I'd think she at least has a shot to grab MB #2, or OH #4 from Prince.
 
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#33
People are saying she might be as good as Quade (who was a first-team All-American). She is being talked about as a 6-rotation starter. There is a reason that Texas really wanted her, and Illinois was willing to go through everything with the NCAA and wait a year for her.
If Vrankovic is as good as Quade right now, then there's no limit on how good this year's team could be.
 
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#34
Kuper is all of 5'-8" and had a grand total of 3 kills last year (probably on well placed dinks). She's not hitting out the back row or the front row.

The only two on the roster the the setters will go to out of the back are Quade and probably Vrankovic, which is why I'd expect them to be opposite in the rotation so one is in front and one in back all the time. That would give them four hitting threats on every rotation.
It's not as crazy as it sounds. She was an outside hitter all through high school and was the Gatorade Player of the Year in the State of Kansas. Here is what a coach of another team said about her:

“Taylor was an impact player from both the front and back row. She was not only the best defensive player on her team but arguably the best in the state, and I believe she’s the best offensive player in the state as well.” - Alex Fitzmorris, Gardner-Edgerton High Head Coach (Btw, Alex Fitzmorris has been a coach for USA Volleyball HP and her sister, Audriana, is a star player for Stanford. So she knows quite a bit about elite volleyball players.)

Also, Kuper got a big kill from the back row against Northern Colorado early in the season that surprised a lot of people.

Finally, this is what Coach Tamas said about her in an article last year:

"Tamas trusts Kuper on the back row, but his trust in the young player is not just limited to her dangerous serve or her passing. When redshirt junior Beth Prince nursed an injury at the start of the season, Tamas considered playing Kuper on the outside to fill in. Kuper is relatively comfortable in almost every position on the court (she’s even set up a few teammates for kills, with five assists).

“'She's a three-rotation defensive specialist, but she's a multi-tool player,' Tamas said. 'She’s able to do a lot. If she's not playing the back row here, she might be playing the front row kind of on our scout side. She's able to mimic the other attackers and she's still a good attacker, she competes. I used that word a couple times, but being a competitor in our program is a big deal for me. I think that's the biggest role for me that she fills.'”
 
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#35
That could well be. Seems like they are most likely going to go with one of Hinton, Holzman, or Swanson in that role.

With Holzman being the national player of the year, even if she hasn't been a natural MB to this point, I'd think she at least has a shot to grab MB #2, or OH #4 from Prince.
Holzman was the National Gatorade Player of the year but that doesn't mean that she was the top volleyball player in the country. She was ranked #36 by PrepVolleyball and was third team Under Armour All American. Fellow recruit Kyla Swanson, made the second team. She is a couple inches taller than Holzman and a more natural middle. Also can't discount Rylee Hinton who arrived in January. She wasn't as highly ranked but she has been with the team for a semester and has a head start on the two newcomers. Should be plenty of competition for that second MB slot.
 
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#36
One only has to watch a D3 match to see 5'8" and 5'9" players hitting with authority out of the back row. Kuper was a first year player last year and had a lot to learn. As she becomes more comfortable and versatile the likelihood that she will become a weapon out of the back row increases.

I agree that if a freshman starts in the middle next year Swanson is the most likely person to fill that role. Offenses in the BIG are unbelievably faster than anything a freshman has seen playing club. It is probably the toughest position to play as a first year player. Ali was primarily a blocker and provided very little offense in her freshman year, but was one of the best middles in the country her junior and senior year. Swanson is bigger than HInton and Holzman and has more high level experience blocking middle.
 
#37
One only has to watch a D3 match to see 5'8" and 5'9" players hitting with authority out of the back row. Kuper was a first year player last year and had a lot to learn. As she becomes more comfortable and versatile the likelihood that she will become a weapon out of the back row increases.
I will simply say that playing D3 is a lot different than having to consistently hit against 6'-2", 6'-3", 6'-4', etc. front row players in the Big Ten.

And I'll believe Kuper as a planned option out of the back row, or front row, when I see it.
 
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#40
Illini ranked #6 in the national preseason poll. Season starts in just over two weeks with a home-and-home vs #19 Tennessee.
 
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#44
The Villages, FL
For anyone interested, the season opener at #16 Tennessee will air live on SEC network at 7pm CT tomorrow. The match in Champaign will air on BTN Sunday.
Thank you so much!
 
#45
For anyone interested, the season opener at #16 Tennessee will air live on SEC network at 7pm CT tomorrow. The match in Champaign will air on BTN Sunday.
May not see the true Illini tonight. They have five players who have been sitting out due to injury: Prince, Hollowell, Allison, Bruna V. and Holzman. Holzman is out for the year - the others day to day. If none are ready to go, we will have three freshmen or RS freshmen starting.
 
#46
Wayne County, IL
The Match is on the SEC network, not playing well. They were down 0-2 and now have ground it out to the it up at 2-2. Honestly, not playing consistently. A lot of service errors, 15 so far. I just read another post. Apparently we have 5 players out. Explains some of the inconsistency. Score in the fifth set 6-4 Illini.