Dayton Beats No. 17 Illinois, Gardner-Webb


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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - The University of Dayton Flyers extended their winning streak to five matches after squeaking past No. 17 Illinois in five sets (20-25, 25-23, 20-25, 25-21, 15-8 ) and routing Gardner-Webb 3-0 (25-9, 25-9, 25-11) on Friday.

"This is a great win for our program [to beat Illinois]," head coach Kelly Sheffield said. "Our passing was as good as it has been all year, we spent a lot of time working on it and it really showed today."

Lindsay Fletemier recorded 16 kills on 30 attempts for a .400 hitting percentage while picking up nine block assists. Nicole Bateman recorded her third double-double this season with 15 kills and 16 digs in the match. Erin Schroeder also notched her sixth double-double in seven matches with 49 assists and 21 digs.

Illinois was paced by outside hitter Laura DeBruler, who was named AVCA National Player of the Week just two weeks prior. DeBruler had 23 kills, 13 digs and four service aces.

The Flyers picked up 12 total blocks on the day with 9 blocks assists coming from Fletemier and nine block assists by Becky Novacek. Tiffany Gaerke added two solo blocks to the effort for the Flyers.

"We did a good job on applying pressure with our serves," Sheffield said. "We had to keep them out of their system as much as possible. When they are in their system they are a tough team to handle with many weapons."

UD trailed the match down two sets to one before closing out the Fighting Illini in the final two sets. Dayton capped off a win on Mandy Robbe's third service ace of the match to defeat Illinois 15-8 in the fifth set.

In the second match, Dayton's offense and defense came from many different faces. Becky Novacek was 7-of-12 and hit .583 while Nicole Bateman posted her fourth double-double notching 12 digs and 12 kills.Tiffany Gaerke had a standout performance against the Bulldogs. Gaerke was 9-of-19 on Friday for a .421 total hitting percentage.

"I was really happy to see the contributions from all of our players tonight," Sheffield said.

Freshmen Valerie Akerhielm and Anna Eytchison had strong performances as well. Akerhielm had 11 digs and Eytchison picked up four kills and two digs.

Erin Schroeder and Kacie Hausfeld shared duties on setting the ball for the Flyers. Schroeder set 16 balls early for UD then Hausfeld took over setting a career-high 15 balls for Dayton in their win.

"We talked before the match about being consistent and playing with energy, and I thought we did a really good job of both of those things tonight," Sheffield said. "We played `Dayton Flyer' volleyball tonight."

With the win the Flyers are now 2-0 in the Lady Vol Classic. Dayton is back in action on Sunday to close out the tournament against the University of Tennessee Volunteers at 2:00 p.m. ET.

Article courtesy of Dayton athletics.

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