UNO took a swing at another Big Ten opponent on Friday, but Illinois was in control most of the way in a 25-15, 25-17, 18-25, 25-11 win over the Mavs at Sokol Arena.
Last weekend, UNO lost in five sets to Nebraska and Arizona State and won in four against Georgia.
"Last week we played with a lot of courage. Today we played tight," UNO coach Matt Buttermore said.
Illinois raced to leads of 11-3 in the first set and 11-6 in the second and quickly put the Mavs in a two-sets-to-none hole.
"That set the tone for the whole match," Buttermore said of the first-set deficit. "We got to do a better job of coming out that first set."
UNO was at its best in the third set. Tied 12-12, the Mavs went on a 7-0 run and led comfortably the rest of the way. Sadie Limback and Rachel Fairbanks each had six kills during the set.
The fourth set was tied 6-6 following back-to-back aces by Jaiden Centeno, but Illinois answered with a 14-1 run before closing out the win.
Limback led UNO with 13 kills and hit .476, and Marriah Buss added 11 kills. Sami Clarkson had 37 assists.
UNO will play twice Saturday at Sokol Arena. It faces SMU at 12:30 p.m. before playing Creighton at 7:30.