Reed Sunahara and WVU volleyball are traveling to uncharted waters on Friday when they open their first-ever run in the NCAA Tournament against Illinois. Here’s everything you need to know about the match.
West Virginia at Illinois match information
- Date: Friday, Dec. 3
- Time: 5 p.m. ET
- Location: The Memorial Coliseum in Lexington, Kentucky
- Stream: ESPN+
- Last meeting: Illinois defeated West Virginia 2 sets to 0 at a neutral site in 1978
- All-time series: Illinois leads 1-0 since 1978
- Match preview:
The Mountaineers (19-9, 8-8 Big 12) made history after finishing their regular season with a pair of road wins over TCU, slotting them third in the Big 12. Days later, the team earned its first-ever bid to the NCAA Tournament, becoming one of seven teams from its league to make the postseason — the second-most of any conference, trailing only the Big Ten.
WVU opens its run against one of those eight Big Ten teams when they square off against Illinois on Friday. In fact, the Fighting Illini (20-11, 12-8 Big Ten) will be the third Big Ten team the Mountaineers will have faced this season — in September, WVU earned a 3-0 sweep over No. 23 Michigan at a neutral site, but were fed a sweep by No. 20 Penn State in Morgantown two weeks later.
Illinois had an up-and-down regular season, but were able to find some momentum toward the end of the campaign to win four of its last six. The Fighting Illini finished seventh in their league, a half-game in front of Michigan and one game behind Penn State.