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This Week in Illini Athletics: Aug. 23-29, 2021

Illinois Football and Volleyball start their seasons this weekend.

NCAA Football: Illinois at Northwestern David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome to “This Week in Illini Athletics,” a weekly review of the previous week of Illini sports and a look ahead at what’s to come.

FOOTBALL (0-0 Overall, 0-0 Big Ten)

This Week: This Saturday at 12 p.m., Illinois hosts Nebraska in Memorial Stadium to kick off not only the Fighting Illini’s 2021 campaign, but the entire NCAA football season. The game marks Bret Bielema’s debut as head coach of the Illini as he looks to get his tenure in Champaign started on the right foot.

WOMEN’S VOLLEYBALL (0-0 Overall, 0-0 Big Ten)

This Week: Illinois is set to begin its season this weekend with three matches at Milwaukee’s Panther Invitational. In a doubleheader on Friday, Illinois opens the Panther Invitational against UC Santa Barbara at noon and ends the night with a 7 p.m. match against Milwaukee. The Illini’s final match of the weekend comes against Valparaiso at 5 p.m. on Saturday.

WOMEN’S SOCCER (2-0 Overall, 0-0 Big Ten)

Last Week: It was a big week for the Illini as they opened their season with a pair of wins over non-conference rivals. First, Illinois notched a 4-0 victory at Missouri on Thursday in the first competitive Illini athletics event of the 2021-22 season. Abby Lynch, Kendra Pasquale, Hope Breslin, and Maeve Jones all scored in the winning effort, with Pasquale’s and Breslin’s goals coming just 22 seconds apart, a school record. On Sunday, the Illini followed up one four-goal win with another, defeating Illinois State 5-1 on the road. A hat trick from Breslin and two goals from Makena Silber comprised the scoring for the Illini.

This Week: Illinois looks to keep up its winning ways when it plays host to No. 3 North Carolina (2-0) in its home opener at 8 p.m. on Thursday. The Illini finish the week with a 1 p.m. meeting with Butler (0-1) on Sunday in Champaign.