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 (3-6 Overall, 2-4 Big Ten)
Last Week: Illinois couldn’t quite overcome Rutgers on Saturday, losing a competitive game 20-14. The Illini entered the fourth quarter leading 14-10, but a Rutgers touchdown at the beginning of the fourth followed by a field goal gave the Scarlet Knights a 6-point advantage. Illinois had an opportunity to take the lead with a touchdown on its final drive, but the Illini were stopped on fourth and one at the Rutgers 34 yard line, turning the ball over on downs and sealing the victory for Rutgers. Quarterback Brandon Peters was a bright spot for the Illini, completing 14 of his 19 passes for 190 yards and a touchdown
This Week: The Illini travel to Minnesota on Saturday for an 11 a.m. kickoff.
WOMEN’S VOLLEYBALL (16-7 Overall, 8-4 Big Ten)
Last Week: The Illini won both of their matches this week, extending their winning streak to four. On Friday at Rutgers, the Illini got off to a slow start, with Rutgers taking the first set 27-25. Illinois controlled the match from there on out though, enduring only a slight hiccup in the fourth set en route to a 3-2 victory. Junior Kennedy Collins starred in the victory with 13 kills, 3 aces, 8 blocks, and 10 digs. On Saturday, Illinois picked up a massive upset win, defeating #13 Penn State in four sets. Down 23-21 in the second set and 1-0 in sets, the Illini were staring a 2-0 deficit in the face on the road. But the Illini ripped off four straight points and didn’t look back, taking three sets in a row to complete their second ranked win of the season. Outside hitters Raina Terry and Megan Cooney led the Illini to victory, finishing with 17 kills on .273 hitting and 14 kills on .343 hitting, respectively.
This Week: Illinois plays a pair of ranked opponents at Huff Hall this week. First, the Illini take on #6 Nebraska at 8 p.m. on Thursday. Then #11 Minnesota comes to town on Saturday for a 6 p.m. matchup.
MEN’S BASKETBALL (0-0 Overall, 0-0 Big Ten)
Last Week: In its second and final preseason tune-up, Illinois defeated Indiana (PA) 94-79. Coleman Hawkins started and scored 16 points to go with 9 rebounds in place of the injured Da’Monte Williams. Andre Curbelo posted a double-double with 14 points and 12 assists.
This Week: The 11th-ranked Illini begin their season at home against Jackson State on November 9th at 7 p.m.
MEN’S and WOMEN’S CROSS COUNTRY
Last Week: Both Illinois cross country teams placed sixth at the Big Ten Championships last week. Senior Jon Davis (24:44.0) led the Illini men with a third place finish, and freshman Annalyssa Crain (21:11.0) finished in seventeenth, pacing the Illini women.
This Week: The Illini get a week off to prepare before traveling to Iowa City for the NCAA Midwest Regional on November 12.
WOMEN’S SWIMMING & DIVING (4-2 Overall, 0-1 Big Ten)
Last Week: The Illini went 2-1 on the weekend, defeating Southern Illinois and Illinois State but losing to Vanderbilt. Illinois took first place in seven of the 16 events on Friday against SIU and ISU, highlighted by sophomore Cara Bognar’s wins in the 1000 yard freestyle and 200 yard butterfly. On Saturday, Vanderbilt narrowly defeated Illinois 134-128, but the Illini still had several first-place finishes, with Bognar (200 Fly, 500 Free), Sydney Stoll (200 Back, 100 IM), and Abby Cabush (200 Free, 100 Free) all winning a pair of events.
This Week: Illinois gets a break before returning to the pool at the House of Champions Invitational in Indianapolis from November 18-20.
WRESTLING (0-0 Overall, 0-0 Big Ten)
This Week: Illinois wrestling begins its season at the Michigan State Open on Saturday at 8:30 a.m.
Last Week: The Illini placed eighth out of 18 teams at The Landfall Tradition hosted by UNC Wilmington. Senior Crystal Wang once again placed tops among the Illini, finishing third with a score of 212 (-4).
This Week: Illinois women’s golf takes the winter off before beginning its spring season in February.
This Week: The Illini head to Columbus from Thursday to Sunday for the Big Ten Singles Championships.
Last Week: The Illini went 6-15 in singles matches and 2-7 in doubles at the Tennessee Hidden Dual this weekend. This was the final tournament of Illinois’ fall slate.
This Week: Illini women’s tennis will be back in action in the spring.