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This Week in Illini Athletics: Oct. 24-30, 2022

Some seasons come to an end, as others are just beginning.

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.

#17 Football (6-1 Overall, 3-1 Big Ten)

This Week: After a week off, the boys are set to return to action against Nebraska as they seek to hold on to the top spot in the West.

Women’s Soccer (7-7-4 Overall, 2-5-3 Big Ten)

Last Week: The women’s soccer team faced off against Big Ten foes Wisconsin and Minnesota last week. The season came to an end this week as they fell short of Tournament contention. The Illini entered last week trailing Minnesota by three points for eighth place in the Big Ten, and were on the bubble.

  • vs. Wisconsin - Defense was the name of the game to start off the game. Illinois goal-keeper extraordinaire Julia Cili, who leads all Big Ten keepers with 89 saves this season, put on a showing in the first half. The amazing goal-keeping on both sides left the rest of field searching for answers. The 2nd half saw some screaming shots on goal by Illinois’ Julia Eichenbaum and last weeks B1G Player of the Week Kendra Pasquale were barley missing the mark. This match was in a stalemate the whole time, and it would stay that way to the final whistle

Final: Illinois 0 - Wisconsin 0

  • vs. Minnesota - In what would be Illinois last game of the season, the Illini fell behind early. In the 20th minute Minnesota’s Sophia Boman sent one past Julia Cili. Illinois looked to answer quickly as they put up a shot soon after, however Minnesota caught them being too aggressive as they snuck past the defense and made it a two score game. The rest of the half was nothing but a “foul fest” as it had 9 different stoppages in play after the Gopher’s goals. In the second half the Illini could not catch a break having nothing to show for their first 7 attempts on net. Until the Gopher’s committed a penalty in the box, and Illinois’ Kennedy Berschel broke their goose egg. With the match and the season winding down to its final minutes, Illinois’ Makala Woods crossed up a defender on a spin and shot what would be the top goal of the year. Illinois would end their season in a tie with Minnesota.

Final: Illinois 2 - Minnesota 2

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Volleyball (9-11 Overall, 4-6 Big Ten)

Last Week: With the season falling apart at the seams and not a-lot of time to recover, the once highly ranked Illini face off against top ranked Ohio State and Nebraska.

  • vs. #6 Ohio State - The first set was rough... almost as rough as it could get from a set standpoint. Before the Illini could reach 10 point mark, the Buckeyes were already 5 points away from taking the match. Ohio State took an early match lead. After the Illini got their teeth knocked in, they were able to respond. In the 2nd set the Illini were able to roll with the punches matching the Buckeyes all the way down the stretch. But after an Emily Londot kill, it secured a consecutive set victory for Buckeyes. The third set saw the Illini take their first lead of the match, but slowly the #6 team in the nation crawled its way back. With it knotted up at 16 a piece, Ohio State managed to win the next 5 points. With Ohio State 4 points away from victory, the Illini managed to fight back into striking distance, but eventually would fall to hands of the Buckeyes.

Set 1: Illinois 10 - Ohio State 25

Set 2: Illinois 23 - Ohio State 25

Set 3: Illinois 23 - Ohio State 25

Final: Illinois 0 - Ohio State 3

  • vs. #3 Nebraska - It was a sold out crowd in Champaign as the Illini hosted the No. 3 squad in the nation - Nebraska. The Illini and Cornhuskers had a very eventful back and forth affair to start off the night, with the Illini not allowing Nebraska to get a lead more then 3. With the score 16-13 in favor of Nebraska, the Cornhuskers went on a 7 point tare to win the set. The 2nd set saw the Illini play some very meaningful volleyball, but every time they would win two points, Nebraska would go on to win 4. Nebraska had all the answers in set 2, winning 25-16. With the Illini’s backs against the wall, they went step-by-step with the #3 overall team in the nation. Both went on their fair share of runs as the Illini had to thank Kayla Burbage for coming up big with game point on the horizon. With the Illini down 22-24, Nebraska would go on to win game point — and match.

Set 1: Illinois 14 - Nebraska 25

Set 2: Illinois 16 - Nebraska 25

Set 3: Illinois 22 - Nebraska 25

Final: Illinois 0 - Nebraska 3

This Week: The tough schedule continues as the Illini will face off against #13 Penn State and Rutgers this week.

Women’s Golf

Last Week: The Women’s golf team competed at the “Ally” down at Mississippi State. They were lead by Crystal Wang, who recorded her third-straight Top 5 finish with a tournament total of 217 (+1) and Isabel Sy who placed tied for 17th finishing the tournament with a 223 (+7). The Illini were able to place 6th overall.

This Week: They will be heading down to Coral Gables, Florida later in the week to compete in the Hurricane Invitational, hosted by the University of Miami.

#2 Men’s Golf

Last Week: The boys rolled into Dayton and came out victorious. The Illini were able to win the Dayton Flyer Invitational under some rocky weather. The Illini were lead by Tommy Kuhl (T4th, 218, +5), Matthis Besard (T6th, 219, +6), and Nico Lang (T9th, 220, +7).

This Week: The Illini will close out their fall competition schedule at Windermere, Florida. The tournament is held at Isleworth Golf & Country Club, and is regarded as one of the top events on the college golf schedule.

Women’s Tennis

Last Week: Seven Illini including Emily Casati, Kida Ferrari, Kasia Treiber, Megan Heuser, Kate Duong, Ashley Yeah and Josie Frazier competed at ITA Midwest Regionals in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

This Week: The Illini will finish up the ITA Midwest Regionals early this week.

Men’s Tennis

Last Week: Men’s Tennis did not have to travel far as their ITA Midwest Regionals was hosted in their own backyard.

This Week: Men’s Tennis will wrap up hosting early this week and will also compete later at Notre Dame.

Cross Country

Last Week: Both Men’s and Women’s cross country teams ran in their final regular season race, which was hosted here in Champaign. For the Men they were led by Evan Cummins (18th overall (25:55.9)) and they placed fourth out of the four teams that competed. For the Women, they were led by junior Tracey Towns who placed sixth overall (18:23.5), and helped elevate them to a 2nd place finish overall.

This Week: Very big week for cross country as they will be finishing up their season competing at the BIG Ten Championships in Michigan.

Women’s Swim & Dive

This Week: After a week off, women’s swim & dive team returns to action as they will divide and conquer at Northwestern and UIC.

Men’s Basketball (Exh.)

This Week: It’s baaaaaaaack! Usually the past couple of years we all count down the days til basketball returned, but with football performing as they are it has snuck up on us. Illinois will start its exhibition circuit against Quincy University on Friday.