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This Week in Illini Athletics: Sept. 27-Oct. 3, 2021

After a pair of wins, Illinois Volleyball has a HUGE week ahead.

Illinois v Purdue Photo by Michael Hickey/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 (1-4 Overall, 1-2 Big Ten)

Last Week: The Illini fought hard on Saturday but they fell just short, losing to Purdue 13-9 in West Lafayette. In an outstanding performance from the Illini defense, the Boilermakers scored just six points through the first three and a half quarters. Just one poor drive did the Illini in, however, as Purdue scored what proved to be the game-winning touchdown with just under six minutes remaining. Freshman running back Josh McCray was a bright spot in an otherwise poor performance from the Illini offense, rushing for 156 yards on 24 carries.

This Week: In its final non-conference matchup of the season, Illinois hosts Charlotte on Saturday for an 11 a.m. kick.

WOMEN’S VOLLEYBALL (10-3 Overall, 2-0 Big Ten)

Last Week: Illinois opened up Big Ten play this week with a pair of eerily similar five-set wins over rivals Iowa and Northwestern. On Wednesday, Illinois dropped the first set to Iowa by a score of 26-24. On Saturday, Illinois dropped the first set to Northwestern by a score of 25-23. On Wednesday, Illinois then took the next two sets 25-20. On Saturday, Illinois then took the next two sets 25-17. On Wednesday, the fourth set was the Illini’s worst, as they lost it 25-17. On Saturday, the fourth set was the Illini’s worst, as they lost it 25-21. On Wednesday, Illinois clinched the victory with a dominating 15-5 win in the fifth set. On Saturday, Illinois clinched the victory with a dominating 15-9 victory in the fifth set. The Illini finished the week in a five-way tie for first in the Big Ten.

This Week: It’s a massive week for the Illini with matchups against two top ten teams. On Wednesday night at 6, Illinois travels to West Lafayette to face #7 Purdue. The Illini then return home to host #2 Wisconsin at noon on Sunday.

WOMEN’S SOCCER (4-6 Overall, 0-3 Big Ten)

Last Week: In the first full week of Big Ten competition, Illinois lost both of its matches by a 2-1 margin. On Thursday, Illinois and Purdue were scoreless for over 50 minutes, but early in the second half, the Boilermakers scored two goals exactly two minutes apart to take the lead. The Illini got on the board with a late Hope Breslin goal on the rebound from a penalty kick, but it was not enough as Purdue took home the win. The Illini wasted no time on Sunday as a Kendra Pasquale goal gave Illinois the lead just eight minutes into the match. The score remained 1-0 for nearly 60 minutes, but two second half goals from Indiana gave it the victory.

This Week: Illinois looks to get back on track when it travels to Northwestern for a 7 p.m. match on Thursday. The Illini conclude the week with a noon match on Sunday against Maryland at Demirjian Park.

MEN’S and WOMEN’S CROSS COUNTRY

This Week: The Illini travel to South Bend on Friday for Notre Dame’s Joe Piane Invitational.

WOMEN’S GOLF

Last Week: The Illini currently sit in second place after one day and two rounds of Oklahoma’s 15-team Schooner Fall Classic. Senior Kornkamol Sukaree leads the Illini at -2 in a tie for second place.

This Week: Illinois will play the final round of the Schooner Fall Classic today before getting the rest of the week off.

WOMEN’S TENNIS

Last Week: It was a successful weekend for the Illini at the ITA Midwest Regional in Urbana as they qualified four singles players and three doubles teams to the ITA Midwest Super Regional in late October. Sophomore Kate Duong automatically qualified due to her ranking, and juniors Ashley Yeah, Josie Frazier, and freshman Megan Heuser qualified by advancing to the round of 16. The doubles team of Duong and Frazier also qualified based on rankings, while Heuser/Yeah and Kida Ferrari/Kasia Treiber qualified by advancing to the quarterfinals.

This Week: The Illini get the week off before returning to action on Friday, October 8th, when they have tournaments at Northwestern and at Vanderbilt on the schedule.