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 (2-4 Overall, 1-2 Big Ten)
Last Week: The Illini rebounded well from a tough loss against Purdue to beat Charlotte 24-14 on Saturday. Illinois got down early and trailed 14-10 at halftime, but the Illini defense once again stepped up, holding Charlotte scoreless in the second half. With neither team scoring in the fourth quarter, a pair of Illini touchdowns in the third quarter proved to be enough as Illinois took a 24-14 lead that it never gave up. The star of the game was running back Chase Brown, whose 257 rushing yards were the fourth-most by an Illini in a game in school history. His 80-yard touchdown run to end the third-quarter was the tenth-longest run in Illini history as well.
This Week: It’s Homecoming Week for the Illini, and Wisconsin comes to Champaign for the first time since Illinois’ historic upset of the Badgers two years ago. Kickoff is at 2:30 p.m. on Saturday.
WOMEN’S VOLLEYBALL (11-4 Overall, 3-1 Big Ten)
Last Week: It was a massive week for the Illini as they upset No. 4 Purdue on the road. Illinois took the first and third sets on Friday by just two points each, while Purdue’s second- and fourth-set wins were more decisive. But the Illini made quick work of the Boilermakers in the fifth set, winning 15-10 to seal their highest-ranked win since the 2011 Final Four. Megan Cooney starred in the match, notching a career-best 21 kills to lead the Illini. Illinois returned home on Sunday to face #5 Wisconsin, and it kept the momentum from Friday going, winning the first set 25-22. The Badgers went on to win the next three sets, however, so the Illini were only able to manage one top-five win on the weekend.
This Week: Illinois plays the same teams again this week, just in different locations. The Illini host Purdue on Wednesday night at 8, and then they travel to Madison to face Wisconsin on Saturday at 7 p.m.
WOMEN’S SOCCER (5-7 Overall, 1-4 Big Ten)
Last Week: The Illini began the week with a heartbreaking loss to Northwestern, but they bounced back on Sunday by grabbing a win over Maryland for their first Big Ten victory. Both teams struggled to score in Thursday’s match at Northwestern, and the match nearly went to overtime tied at zero. But with under a minute remaining, Northwestern broke through for the game-winning goal that sealed Illinois’ 1-0 defeat. Sunday’s match featured a bit more scoring, with Maryland taking a one-goal lead within the game’s first ten minutes. The Illini didn’t fold though, and they came storming back with two second half goals to put the finishing touches on a 2-1 win.
This Week: In its only match this week, Illinois hosts Wisconsin on Friday evening at 6.
MEN’S and WOMEN’S CROSS COUNTRY
Last Week: Illinois had a rough outing at Notre Dame’s Jo Piane Invite, as the men finished twentieth out of 23 teams and the women placed twelfth of 25. It was not all bad for the Illini, however, as senior Jon Davis earned second place out of 180 runners with a time of 23:11.6.
This Week: The Illini get the week off before traveling south to Tallahassee for NCAA Pre-Nationals on Friday, October 15th.
This Week: After two weeks off, the Illini head to Fayetteville for Arkansas’ 10-team Blessings Collegiate Invitational from Monday to Wednesday.
Last Week: Illinois finished tied for fourth out of 12 teams at Oklahoma’s Schooner Fall Classic. Senior Kornkamol Sukaree led the Illini with a seventh-place finish at +1, and sophomore Isabel Sy carded a +2, good for eleventh.
This Week: In addition to the men, the Illini women will also participate in the Blessings Collegiate Invitational this week.
This Week: Due to his ranking, senior Alex Brown has qualified into the ITA All-American Championships where he will compete this week beginning on Monday.
This Week: Illinois makes a quick trip to Evanston this weekend for Northwestern’s Wildcat Invite from Friday to Sunday.