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 (1-0 Overall, 0-0 Big Ten)
Last Week: “Sheriff Brown wrangle up the ‘Boys.”
The Fighting Illini opened the season with a statement win against the Wyoming Cowboys. Tommy DeVito had a stellar debut, throwing a touchdown on his first throw in Champaign.
The real star of the contest was undoubtedly Illini running back Chase Brown. Brown ran all over the Cowboys, rushing for 151 yards and thrice finding paydirt.
Read game recap here!
Final: Illinois 38 - Wyoming 6
This Week: Bielema & Co. travel to Bloomington to take on the Hoosiers of Indiana under the Friday night lights.
Illinois Football at Indiana — Friday Sept. 2nd, 7 p.m. CT.
Women’s Soccer (4-1 Overall, 0-0 Big Ten)
Last Week: Illini took a huge win against #17 Butler, but struggled against Notre Dame. These were two tough early season matchups for the Illini, and they proved they can hang with some very tough competition. Both Butler and Notre Dame are coming off seasons that led to tournament runs last year, so splitting this weekend is nothing to cry about.
- vs. #17 Butler - Illinois went into Butler to take on the 2-0 Bulldogs. From the first whistle, Butler went on the attack, putting-up 5 shots against the Illini in the first 15 minutes. The Illini kept calm behind their shot-blocker Julia Cili, who redirected Butler’s early attempts. Butler would go on to shoot 8 times in the half compared to 3 shots by Illinois. The 2nd half was much more successful for the Illini offense, as they spent more time on Butler’s side of the field than in the 1st. Both teams struggled to gain any momentum, and the match seemed to be on the verge of a tie until Illini’s own Julia Eichenbaum was able to sink one into the net with only 2 minutes remaining. The Illini win a huge confidence booster 1-0.
Final: Illinois 1 - Butler 0
- vs. Notre Dame - Sunday did not go the way Illini soccer envisioned it would. In the early minutes, both teams were battling for possession as it was hard to come by. In the 33rd minute the Lady Irish got a good look at the net and sent it through. Both the Illini and Irish could only muster up one more shot each the rest of the half—but the Irish made theirs count. A heart-breaking goal attempt with 7 seconds left in the half was not how the Illini wanted to head into the locker room. Two minutes into the 2nd half, the Irish struck again, making it a 3-0 contest. The Illini battled and even saw some really impressive saves from Cili, but after the Irish sent another one into the net in the 59th minute the Illini could not find an answer.
Final: Illinois 0 - Notre Dame 4
This Week: The Illini will start September with a 3-game home-stand. This week, they have matches against Texas A&M and Indiana State.
Illinois W Soccer vs. Texas A&M — Wednesday Sept. 1st, 7 p.m. CT.
Illinois W Soccer vs. Indiana State — Sunday Sept. 4th, 7 p.m. CT.
#17 Women’s Volleyball (1-1 Overall, 0-0 Big Ten)
Last Week: The Illini started their season splitting their matches at the Ole Miss Invitational. The Illini have high expectations after last season’s impressive run through the NCAA Tournament. With players like Jessica Nunge and Kayla Burbage, who were made the All-Tournament team at Ole Miss over the weekend, they have a very strong core that can have a lot of success in the Big Ten. So even with this loss, last weekend was nothing short of successful.
- vs. #9 Georgia Tech - Heading into this match, the Illini knew they faced a tall task. Georgia Tech is ranked in the top 10 after going 23-5 and grabbing a #7 seed in last year’s tournament. This matchup allowed the Illini to face top competition, which will help prepare them for a stacked Big Ten schedule. The first set was a back-and-forth affair with both squads trading kills, but after Georgia Tech took that set the Illini had no answer. Georgia Tech wins this one taking all three sets.
Set 1: GT - 25 ILL - 21
Set 2: GT - 25 ILL - 15
Set 3: GT - 25 ILL - 17
Final: GT 3 - ILL 0
- vs. Ole Miss - In a match that saw 22 ties and 13 lead changes, the Illini managed to bounce back and collect their first win of the season. In the first set the Illini came to play. Behind multiple kills by Jessica Nunge the Illini took the set easily. The second set was a completely different ball game. Ole Miss and Illinois both had answers to everything they were throwing at each other. Back and forth they went until the Illini caught up at 24-all: happily, the Illini took the next two points and the set. The Illini would go on to drop the third set, but would finish off Ole Miss in the fourth. Raina Terry and Jessica Nunge both showed flashes of brilliance with 15 kills each.
Set 1: Ole - 16 ILL - 25
Set 2: Ole - 24 ILL - 26
Set 3: Ole - 25 ILL - 18
Set 4: Ole - 20 ILL - 25
Final: Ole 1 - ILL 3
This Week: Illinois will be heading to Boulder, Colorado to participate in the Big Ten/Pac-12 Challenge. The Illini drew matchups against Colorado and #8-ranked Washington Huskies.
Illinois Volleyball at Colorado — Saturday Sept. 3rd, 3:30 p.m. CT.
Illinois Volleyball vs. Washington — Boulder Co. Sunday Sept. 4th, 12:00 p.m. CT
This Week: Both the men’s & women’s cross country teams will be staying in Champaign to kick off their seasons on Thursday at the Arboretum.
Illinois M & W Cross Country — Champaign Ill. Thursday Sept. 1st, 5:00 p.m. CT.
BOOOOM!! Underwood and staff landed a big-time 2023 commit in Amani Hansberry!
Weekly Review of Illini in the Pros
- James McCourt: Former Illinois kicker gets claimed off waivers by the Jacksonville Jaguars
Jaguars have claimed K James McCourt off waivers from the Los Angeles Chargers.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) August 23, 2022
- Jake Hansen: On his Thursday Night debut, Jake Hansen helped the Texans shut out the 49ers with this interception!
- Malik Turner: Malik Turner caught 3 of his 5 targets for 32 yards against the Texans on Thursday night. He caught up with former teammate Jake Hansen and had this great moment.
- Kerby Joseph: There has been a-lot of talk around Detroit that Kerby will be seeing valuable playing time after finishing up his preseason with yet another great game.
Rookie safety Kerby Joseph led the Lions in tackles (seven) today after finishing second in last week's preseason win over Indy.— Nolan Bianchi (@nolanbianchi) August 28, 2022