Saturday, December 17, 2011

Final Four: Bruins take a 2-1 lead

SAN ANTONIO--Illinois' powerful outside hitter Colleen Ward finally came alive, leading the Illini on a crucial 4-2 run, and seeming to will her team to a third set win.

But UCLA freshman Zoe Nightingale made the difference, providing great eyework and relentless net play to tap, push, kill and block the ball back against Illinois' much sturdier front line. Lots of enthusiasm, plenty of quickness. Very impressive.

Bruins' coach Mike Sealy took Rachel Kidder out of the back row; Illinois kept serving her, and he wanted to give her a rest. She responded with the set on the line, fighting off two set points, and serving the Bruins' final three points for a thrilling 26-24 win.

Attendance announced at 13,747.

Illinois' Coleen Ward (4) attacks against Lauren Van Orden and Zoe Nightengale (13)
[Volleyblog Seattle photo by Leslie Hamann]

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