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This Week in Illini Athletics: Oct. 18-24, 2021

It’s just an exhibition, but Illinois basketball is BACK this weekend.

Drexel v Illinois Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

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)

This Week: After its first bye week of the season, Illinois travels to #7 Penn State for an 11 a.m. kick on Saturday.

WOMEN’S VOLLEYBALL (12-7 Overall, 4-4 Big Ten)

Last Week: The Illini were on both sides of sweeps this week, taking all three sets against Iowa but losing 3-0 to #9 Nebraska. Wednesday’s victory over the Hawkeyes was never close, as the Illini won the first set 25-12 in dominating fashion. Illinois took the final two sets by a score of 25-20. Illinois kept the first set against Nebraska a respectable 25-21, but the Cornhuskers’ talent eventually overwhelmed the Illini as Nebraska completed the sweep.

This Week: The Illini take a quick trip to Northwestern for a 7 p.m. match on Wednesday before coming home to host Michigan on Saturday at 3.

WOMEN’S SOCCER (5-9-1 Overall, 1-6-1 Big Ten)

Last Week: Illinois lost two very different Big Ten matches this week. First, against Minnesota, the Illini lost 5-0 in a match that the Golden Gophers controlled throughout. On Sunday at Iowa, a back-and-forth affair ended in a 3-2 defeat for Illinois as the Hawkeyes scored the game winner in the eighty-fourth minute. Hope Breslin and Sydney Stephens provided the scoring for the Illini.

This Week: The Illini host a pair of matches to finish off the regular season. First is against Nebraska on Thursday evening at 7; the last match before the Big Ten Tournament is against #9 Rutgers on Sunday at 1 p.m.

MEN’S BASKETBALL (0-0 Overall, 0-0 Big Ten)

This Week: For the first time in 17 months, fans will be back in State Farm Center as the Illini host St. Francis (IL) for an exhibition at 8 p.m. Saturday.


Last Week: It was an impressive showing for the Illini women this week as they finished ninth out of 33 teams at the NCAA Pre-Nationals, while the men finished thirty-seventh out of 40. Senior Emma Milburn placed eighteenth with a time of 20:14.3 to pace the Illini.

This Week: Illinois hosts the Illini Open at the UI Arboretum on Friday for the final meet of the regular season.

WOMEN’S SWIMMING & DIVING (1-0 Overall, 0-0 Big Ten)

Last Week: The Illini won their first dual of the season, defeating Indiana State 184.5 to 98.5 on the road. Illinois took first place in 12 of the 15 events on Friday, highlighted by three first place finishes each from freshman Molly Yetter (200 Free, 100 Free, 400 Free Relay) and sophomore Lily Olson (50 Free, 200 Fly, 400 Free Relay).

This Week: Illinois takes a short trip north to Evanston on Saturday to take on Northwestern and UIC at 11 a.m.


Last Week: The Illini finished round one of UCF’s Isleworth Invitational tied for third at (+1). Sophomore Piercen Hunt is tied for third among individuals, with his (-4) leading the way so far for Illinois.

This Week: Illinois will finish up the Isleworth Invitational over the next two days to wrap up its fall schedule.


Last Week: The Illini tied for sixth out of 15 with a score of (-6) at their own Illini Women’s Invitational at Medinah. Senior Crystal Wang finished thirteenth with a three-round score of (-3), leading the Illini.

This Week: Illinois gets a break before traveling to UNC Wilmington for the Landfall Tradition from October 29-31.


Last Week: At its own Fighting Illini Invitational, the Illini went 1-2 this weekend. First, on Friday, the Ilini defeated Arizona State 6-2. On Saturday and Sunday, however, Illinois suffered defeats to Tennessee (9-0) and Middle Tennessee State (3-5)

This Week: The Illini head to East Lansing this weekend for the ITA Midwest Regionals from Thursday to Monday.


This Week: The Illini are back in action this week as they travel to Columbus for the ITA Midwest Regionals from October 22-26.