Welcome to “This Week in Illini Athletics,” a weekly review of the past week of Illini sports and a preview of the week to come.
FOOTBALL (2-5 Overall, 1-3 Big Ten)
Last Week: It was a week the Illini would rather forget, as Wisconsin defeated Illinois, 24-0, on Saturday. Illinois was never able to get much going offensively in front of the homecoming crowd, gaining just 93 total yards of offense on the day. Despite the lackluster offensive performance, the Illini defense held its own against the Badgers, allowing 24 or fewer points for the fourth straight game. Chase Brown rushed for 35 yards on 8 attempts in the loss.
This Week: It’s a good time for a bye week for the Illini, as they get the week off before traveling to #7 Penn State for an 11 a.m. kick on Oct. 23.
WOMEN’S VOLLEYBALL (11-6 Overall, 3-3 Big Ten)
Last Week: Despite going 0-2 on the week, the Illini showed once again that they can compete with the heavyweights in the Big Ten. Playing in front of a rowdy Huff Hall crowd on Wednesday, the Illini lost a thrilling five-set match to #6 Purdue. After beating Purdue just five days earlier, Illinois was not quite able to get the job done a second time, but the Illini were competitive throughout the match, actually outscoring the Boilermakers by two points in total. On Saturday at #4 Wisconsin, the Illini jumped out to an early lead, winning the first set, 27-25, but the Badgers came storming back to take the next three sets to win the match.
This Week: The Illini return home this week to face Iowa at 7 p.m. on Wednesday. Then on Saturday, Illinois travels west to face #10 Nebraska at 6 p.m.
WOMEN’S SOCCER (5-7-1 Overall, 1-4-1 Big Ten)
Last Week: Illinois battled to a 1-1 draw with Wisconsin at Demirjian Park on Friday, but that makes the match sound much less exciting than it really was. Kendra Pasquale scored in the sixth minute for the Illini, but Wisconsin equalized not long after. With the game sitting at 1-1, both teams had plenty of chances, but nobody could find the back of the net. Until the first overtime, that is, when Hope Breslin’s shot actually did find the back of the net, scoring what appeared to be the game-winning golden goal for the Illini. However, the goal was waved off after a review showed that time had expired before the ball crossed the goal line, and Illinois was forced to settle for a tie.
This Week: The Illini hit the road this week, traveling to Minnesota for an 8 p.m. match on Thursday before finishing the week with a 1 p.m. match at Iowa.
MEN’S and WOMEN’S CROSS COUNTRY
This Week: After a week off, both Illini cross country teams head to Tallahassee for the NCAA Pre-Nationals, a preview of the NCAA Championship course.
Last Week: The Illini finished (-1) at Arkansas’ Blessings Collegiate Invitational, good for a three-way tie for fourth out of ten teams. Sophomore Piercen Hunt tied for fourth among individuals and led the Illini with a career-low 54-hole score of 209 (-7).
This Week: Illinois travels to UCF for the Isleworth Collegiate Invitational from October 17-19.
Last Week: The Illini women also competed at the 10-team Blessings Collegiate Invitational, finishing in a tie for sixth-place. Seniors Crystal Wang (+6) and Kornkamol Sukaree (+8) led the Illini, placing fourteenth and twentieth, respectively.
This Week: Illinois stays home this week to host the Illini Women’s Invitational at Medinah on Monday and Tuesday. The 54-hole tournament is held at Medinah Country Club.
Last Week: Senior Alex Brown dropped both of his matches at the prestigious ITA All-American Championships.
This Week: The Illini stay home this weekend as they host the Fighting Illini Invite from Friday to Sunday at Atkins Tennis Center.
Last Week: The Illini went 10-11 in singles matches and 2-10 in doubles at the Vanderbilt Hidden Dual this weekend. Sophomore Kate Duong picked up the biggest victory for the Illini, defeating #16 Isabella Pfennig of Miami 6-4, 6-7, 6-0.
This Week: The Illini get a week off to prepare for the ITA Midwest Super Regional from October 22-26.
WOMEN’S SWIMMING & DIVING
This Week: Illinois opens up its season on Friday at 5 p.m. with a dual meet at Indiana State.