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Illinois State to face No. 6 Purdue in NCAA Volleyball Tournament

Published: Nov. 28, 2021 at 11:25 PM CST
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NORMAL (Heart of Illinois ABC) - The Illinois State volleyball team is headed to the NCAA Tournament once again. The Redbirds won the Missouri Valley Conference’s automatic bid for the third straight time, after a 3-2 win over Loyola Chicago in the MVC Tournament Championship Game.

“It’s special, you know I think just building tradition, building upon history that we walked in on, the 50th anniversary of Title IX. I just love this team, they have been fighters from the start, they have worked their tails off, so we’re happy to be in this situation again,” said Illinois State Head Coach Leah Johnson.

Sunday night, the Redbirds learned their opponent in the 64-team tournament. Illinois State drew No. 6 Purdue as their first round matchup. Purdue finished the regular season with a 23-6 record, while the Redbirds have a 19-13 record.

“It’s just such a special feeling, I’m honestly kind of still in disbelief, just withy with how crazy of a match it was, but I think we had complete faith the whole time and it’s just such a special group of girls to come back with that resiliency that we had,” said Illinois State Junior Libero Kaity Weimerskirch.

The matchup against Purdue also brings some intrigue, because one of the Boilermaker’s star players is Grace Cleveland, who is from Bloomington and starred at Normal Community High School.

This marks the 17th appearance in the tournament, and fourth-straight appearance, for Illinois State. The Redbirds are 3-16 all-time in the NCAA Tournament.

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