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More Midwest As Huskies Travel To Illinois

Sep 1, 2021


#11 Washington at Illinois • 6:00 pm PT
Champaign, Ill. • Huff Hall
Live on Big Ten Network | Live Stats

#11 Washington vs. Iowa • 3:00 pm PT
Champaign, Ill. • Huff Hall
Live Stream on Big Ten Network Plus | Live Stats

SEATTLE - For the second straight week to start the season, the Huskies are bound for the Midwest and Big Ten country. The 11th-ranked Dawgs go up against Illinois and Iowa this Friday and Saturday in a renewal of the Pac-12/Big Ten Challenge, hosted by the Fighting Illini in Huff Hall. Friday evening's match between the Huskies and Fighting Illini will be televised live on the Big Ten Network with first serve at 6 p.m. Pacific.

Joining Washington to represent the Conference of Champions is Colorado, off to a 2-0 start to its season. Colorado takes on Iowa prior to UW and Illinois on Friday, then Saturday the match-ups are reversed, with the Huskies and Hawkeyes meeting at 3 p.m. Pacific time.

This is the third season that these four teams have taken part in the Pac-12/Big Ten Challenge, with the host site rotating each time. The Huskies hosted in 2018, defeating Iowa but falling to Illinois in four sets. In 2019, Iowa was the host, with UW winning in four sets over the Hawkeyes and in five sets over Illinois.

Last week the Huskies were in Columbus, Ohio to start the season. Washington swept Ohio in the opener, but fell in a high-caliber four set battle to the Buckeyes in the second match. Ohio State went from 11th to 6th in this week's AVCA poll while the Huskies fell seven spots due to the road loss.

Illinois opened its season with a 3-2 win over UC Santa Barbara, then had two sweeps over Milwaukee and Valparaiso in Milwaukee. Friday's match with UW will be the home opener for Illinois. Last season, Illinois libero Taylor Kuper was named to the All-Big Ten First Team, and outside hitter Megan Cooney was named to the Second Team. Illinois was 7-11 in Big Ten play last year, but had several five set losses to NCAA tourney seeds such as Penn State, Minnesota, and Ohio State, and a 3-2 win over Purdue.

Iowa dropped its first two matches of the season last week, falling in five sets to Duke and then in three sets to Coastal Carolina in Conway, South Carolina. Courtney Buzzerio has gotten off to a great start offensively for the Hawkeyes, averaging 5.25 kills per set and hitting over .300. Buzzerio was an All-Big Ten First Team selection in the 2021 spring season. Iowa was 4-16 in league play last spring.