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This Week in Illini Athletics: Sept. 20-26, 2021

Illinois volleyball: total domination.

Maryland v Illinois Photo by Justin Casterline/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 (1-3 Overall, 1-1 Big Ten)

Last Week: In Maryland’s first ever trip to Memorial Stadium, the Terrapins topped the Illini 20-17. Illinois played well in the game, even leading Maryland by a touchdown for most of the fourth quarter despite being seven-point underdogs. The highlight came at the beginning of the fourth quarter, when receiver Casey Washington scooped up his teammate’s fumble and returned it 30 yards to put the Illini up seven.

But Maryland came storming back, scoring 10 points in the final two and a half minutes, capped off by a game-sealing 32-yard field goal as time expired.

This Week: Illinois looks to reclaim the Cannon at Purdue on Saturday at 2:30 p.m.

WOMEN’S VOLLEYBALL (8-3 Overall, 0-0 Big Ten)

Last Week: It was a big weekend for the Illini as they stormed through three matches at the Redbird classic without losing a single set. Illinois started the weekend with a sweep of Missouri on Friday afternoon to earn bragging rights for the year. Then, in the second rivalry matchup of the day, Illinois dismantled Illinois State, winning each set by nine points. Finally, on Saturday, Illinois earned its third and final sweep of the weekend at the hands of North Texas. In short, things went well. Jessica Nunge, Kennedy Collins, and Diana Brown were all named to the Redbird Classic All-Tournament Team.

This Week: Illinois kicks off Big Ten play this week, traveling to Iowa at 6 p.m. on Wednesday before returning home to Stuff Huff against Northwestern on Saturday at 7 p.m.

WOMEN’S SOCCER (4-4 Overall, 0-1 Big Ten)

Last Week: In Friday’s Big Ten opener, Illinois lost a heartbreaker at the hands of #21 Michigan. The Illini jumped out to the lead in the second minute on Makenna Silber’s fifth goal of the season, and they held onto the 1-0 lead for nearly 80 minutes. However, with under 10 minutes to play, Michigan tied the game at one, sending it to overtime. The first ten-minute sudden death overtime period passed without any scoring. But in the second overtime, with five minutes remaining until the game would be declared a draw, Michigan scored again, grabbing a victory in the first Big Ten match of the season.

This Week: The Illini return to Champaign to host Purdue on Thursday night at 7. Then on Sunday, the Illini travel to Indiana for a noon meeting with the Hoosiers.

MEN’S and WOMEN’S CROSS COUNTRY

Last Week: The Illini men and women both ran away (pun intended) with the twelve-team (thirteen-team for the women) Redbird Invitational crowns on Friday. Senior Jonathon Davis paced the Illini with a time of 23:22.6, earning first place by more than a full minute. Five other Illini men placed in the top 15. It was a similar story for the Illini women, with senior Emma Milburn leading Illinois with a runner-up finish, and eight other Illini placing in the top 24.

This Week: Both Illini teams get the week off. They will be back in action at Notre Dame’s Joe Piane Invitational on October 1st.

MEN’S GOLF

Last Week: Illinois finished 11th of 15 at its own Fighting Illini Invitational this weekend. The tournament’s field was loaded, with five of the top six teams in the country participating. Junior Jerry Ji led the Illini with a score of +1 over three rounds, good enough to tie for tenth. Senior Adrien Dumont de Chassart finished one stroke behind (+2) in a tie for twelfth.

This Week: The Illini get a week off before traveling to Fayetteville for Arkansas’ Blessings Collegiate Invitational from October 4-6.

WOMEN’S GOLF

Last Week: The Illini opened their season with a fifth-place finish at the sixteen-team Wolverine Invitational at Michigan last week. Junior Siyan Chen placed third, shooting even par over three rounds, and Senior Crystal Wang finished three over par to tie for eighth.

This Week: This Sunday, Illinois travels to Oklahoma for the two-day Schooner Fall Classic.

WOMEN’S TENNIS

This Week: It’s opening week for Illinois women’s tennis, and it’s a big one. From Thursday to Monday, Illinois will host the ITA Midwest Regional Championship, with select athletes having the opportunity to qualify for the ITA Midwest Super Regional Championship and ultimately the ITA National Fall Championships later in the season. At the same time, Illinois will travel to Indiana for the Hoosier Classic from Friday to Sunday.