Record Breakers

NCAA Regional Final, Illinois vs. Wisconsin (Image by Craig Pessman/ UI Athletics)
A trio of All-Americans lead Illini to the Final Four

Entering the Fall 2018 campaign with a preseason ranking of 12th in the nation—after a 2017 NCAA Sweet 16 run—the Illinois volleyball team crushed expectations all the way to the 2018 NCAA Final Four in Minneapolis. Led by a trio of All-Americans, from first-team selections in senior setter Jordyn Poulter and junior outside hitter Jacqueline Quade, to a third-team pick in senior blocker Ali Bastianelli, the team began the season 14-0. The Fighting Illini went on to clock 17 straight wins to advance to the program’s fourth national semifinals and first Final Four since 2011. Head Coach Chris Tamas called the record-breaking 2018 Illini, who ended the year with a 32-4 record and a final No. 3 national ranking, “one of the all-time best teams” he’s coached. “Words can’t express how proud I am of this group,” Tamas said at the end of his squad’s magical season.