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    2011 Fall Olympic Sports Update #10

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    Each week the Olympic Sports Update will provide a recap of all the Fighting Illini action from the previous week (Oct. 24-30). The soccer team ended the regular season by winning its eighth-consecutive game and will enter the Big Ten Tournament as the No. 2 seed. The volleyball team split a pair of matches, topping Wisconsin in the "Dig Pink" match before falling to Minnesota at home. Members of the men's gymnastics team helped the U.S. squad earn the bronze at the Pan American games while individuals from the men's tennis team competed at the Big Ten Indoor Championships. The cross country teams hosted the Big Ten Championships at the UI Arboretum while the swimming and diving team had its first road meet of the year.

    No. 5 Volleyball (21-2, 10-2 Big Ten)

    Review: Illinois split a pair of home matches, defeating Wisconsin 25-21, 20-25, 25-17, 25-20 and falling to No. 15 Minnesota 25-19, 25-20, 25-15. The Illini have won 34 of the their last 36 home matches with the only losses in that stretch coming to Minnesota.

    After Wisconsin and Illinois hit for a high percentage in the first set, the rest of the match saw a lot of long rallies, one of which saw Illinois reach near its bench to send over a free ball and eventually to win the point. Illinois won the digs battle, 67-65, and also out-blocked Wisconsin, 12-4.
    Sophomore libero Jennifer Beltran led three Illinois players with double figure digs with 19. Senior Rachel Fledman added 14 while senior outside hitter Colleen Ward had a double-double with 12 kills and 13 digs.

    The match was the first in the second half of the Big Ten season and the Illini defeated Wisconsin for the second time on the year. Playing in her first ever Big Ten match, middle blocker Anna Dorn had just one attack when the teams met in Madison back on Sept. 25. A run through the Big Ten has seen Dorn becoming a huge factor. Friday's victory was a great example as the redshirt freshman had nine kills and eight blocks while hitting .571.

    "It's always our goal to get her more involved," Hambly said of Dorn. "She just didn't have the skill set to go against this team before and now she's developed the skills necessary to attack this team. I thought she did a great job."

    The first half of the Big Ten was also the first round of conference play as a starter for junior Annie Luhrsen, whose growth as both a hitter and in engineering the Illinois attack was evident vs. the Badgers. The Wheaton, Ill., native hit .714 with five kills, tallied 42 assists, seven digs and two blocks; and set an offense that hit .258 on the night. Offensively, Bartsch led Illinois with 19 kills with nearly 40 percent of Illinois' swings.

    Against Minnesota, Illinois hit for a season low .087 in a straight sets defeat. Michelle Bartsch had 11 kills, the only Illini with double digit kills. Illinois had 11 service errors, 20 hitting errors and seven reception errors in the match.

    Preview: The Illini will play Purdue in West Lafayette, Ind., on Wednesday, which will be broadcast live on the Big Ten Network, before traveling to Indiana to face on the Hoosiers on Saturday.

    No. 20 Soccer (14-4-1, 8-2-1)

    Review: With the No. 2 seed in the upcoming Big Ten Tournament already locked up regardless of the final regular season weekend, the University of Illinois Soccer team celebrated its senior class with a 3-2 victory over Michigan (9-8-2 overall, 4-6-1 Big Ten) at Illinois Soccer and Track Stadium, ending the Wolverines' season in the process as Michigan required a victory to secure a spot among the Big Ten Tournament qualifiers. Seniors Jenna Carosio and Julie Ewing and redshirt-freshman Jannelle Flaws tallied one goal each to create the margin of victory, extending the Illini winning streak to a program-record eight contests.

    Flaws totaled her third mark of the season to give Illinois a one-goal lead with 16:46 remaining in the first half. Sophomore defender Kassidy Brown stole possession away from the Michigan defense near the right corner flag. Brown then dribbled toward net before passing across the goal-mouth to Flaws, who used one touch to re-direct the ball into the lower-left corner of the net.

    Ewing added the second goal of the contest for the Illini six minutes and 31 seconds into the second half. Brown started Illinois' second scoring play in similar fashion to the first, taking control of the ball from the Michigan defense near the right corner flag - this time finding Ewing as the Batavia, Ill., native raced into the center of the 18-yard box, with Ewing trapping the ball and firing a shot into the lower-right corner for the two-goal advantage.

    Michigan (9-8-2, 4-6-1) tallied its first goal of the game on a shot by Nkem Ezurike following a pass from Christina Murillo in the 74th minute; however, the Wolverines physical style of play cost them dearly, as the Michigan defense was called for a foul in the box, resulting in a penalty kick attempt for Carosio with six minutes left in the game. Carosio took the opportunity to re-establish the two-goal lead for Illinois, placing a forceful shot past Michigan goalkeeper Haley Kopmeyer.

    The Wolverines tallied once more at the 85:48 mark on Kim Siebert's first goal of the season; however, the Orange and Blue maintained possession throughout the final minutes to seal the win, with sophomore Megan Pawloski nearly recording a pair of goals in the process. During the final minute of play, Pawloski earned a pair of chances from inside the 18-yard box as the Illini kept numbers forward to maintain pressure on the Michigan defense. At the 89:25 and 89:40 marks, Pawloski fired on-target attempts, only to have Kopmeyer spoil the shots with diving saves each time.

    Preview: The Orange and Blue (14-4-1, 8-2-1) continue their season in the Big Ten Tournament, held on Northwestern's Lakeside Field in Evanston, Ill. The Illini will face No. 7-seed Ohio State (10-8-1, 5-5-1) in the quarterfinals of the eight-team tournament, beginning play at 1:30 p.m. CT on Wednesday, Nov. 2. The semifinals will be held on Friday, Nov. 4, while the championship contest will be played on Sunday, Nov. 6 in anticipation for the Monday, No. 7 NCAA Tournament drawing.

    Men's Gymnastics

    Review: Seniors Paul Ruggeri, Tyler Mizoguchi and freshman C.J. Maestas represented the United States at the 2011 Pan American Games last week, as the Illini contributed three of the four individual medals earned by the U.S. men's team and helped the U.S. take bronze in the team competition.

    Senior Paul Ruggeri captured gold on high bar to earn his first title at an international event. The seven-time All-American and three-time U.S. senior national team member also added a silver medal for Team USA with a second-place finish on parallel bars, making him the only U.S. men's gymnast at the games to medal on multiple apparatuses.

    Meanwhile, Maestas earned bronze on rings and was the highest finisher in the all-around for Team USA, just missing the podium with a fourth-place score.

    llini men's gymnastics coach and 2007 Pan American gold medalist Justin Spring coached Team USA in the Olympic-sanctioned event. The U.S. squad featured Ruggeri, Mizoguchi, Maestas, Brandon Wynn, Donothan Bailey and Sho Nakamori.

    Men's Tennis

    Review: Junior Stephen Hoh took second at the Big Ten Indoor Championships on Monday, going 5-1 in singles play throughout the four-day tournament. The Australia native teamed up with freshman Tim Kopinski to finish 3-1 in doubles action, downing opponents from Indiana, Minnesota and Wisconsin.

    Freshman Ross Guignon and junior Bruno Abdelnour also represented the Orange and Blue in tournament action, as all four Illini reached the round of 16 and went a combined 12-4 in singles play throughout the weekend.

    Preview: Illini seniors Dennis Nevolo and Roy Kalmanovich will be in action at the 2011 USTA/ITA National Indoor Intercollegiate Championships, Nov. 3-6 at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing, N.Y. Nevolo and Kalmanovich qualified for the tournament with their quarterfinal berths at the ITA All-American Championships in early October.

    Men's Cross Country

    Review: The Fighting Illini men's cross country team took seventh at the Big Ten Championships with a team total of 181 points. Junior Jordan Hebert led all Illini on the home course, placing 22nd overall with a personal-best 8K time of 24:26. Hebert paced the Illini effort for the second time in his career and improved his conference finish by 13 spots from a year ago when he took 35th. Senior Jim Riddle finished behind Hebert, taking 30th overall with a time of 24:32.

    Preview: The Illini have two weeks off until they travel to DeKalb, Ill., to compete in the NCAA Midwest Regionals on Oct. 12 at 11 a.m. CT.

    Women's Cross Country

    Review: Senior Stacy Hague led the Illini and improved her season-best finish as the Fighting Illini finished 12th at the Big Ten Championships at the Arboretum, the home course for the Orange and Blue. Hague turned in her best finish of the year, leading the Illini and finishing the 6K course with a time of 22:04. Sophomore Meghan Frigo (22:10) finished second on the team and 78th overall, beating her previous finish at the conference meet last year by 11 spots.

    Preview: The Illini have two weeks off until they travel to DeKalb, Ill., to compete in the NCAA Midwest Regionals on Oct. 12 at 11 a.m. CT.

    Women's Golf

    Review: The Illini are currently wrapping up play at the Fighting Camel Fall Classic in Buies Creek, N.C. Competition on day one was suspended due to heavy rain with the Illini sitting in second place midway through the second round.

    Swimming and Diving

    Review: The Fighting Illini swimming and diving team fell to 0-2 on the season, taking a 174.5-118.5 loss at Kansas on Saturday. Despite the loss, the Illini claimed first-place finishes in both the 200 back and 200 free relay. Leading the Illini was sophomore Jessica Holz, who captured first place in the 200 back for the second meet in a row and earned second in the 100 back. The Illini relay teams captured the top two spots in the 200 free relay and swam for second- and third-place finishes in the 200 medley relay. On the boards, senior Britni Fisher and juniors Darragh McDermott and Tessa Adams finished first, second and third, respectively, while Adams also came in second on the three-meter board.

    Preview: The Orange and Blue will travel to Michigan State on Friday for the first of two road meets, before heading to Chicago on Saturday to take on Illinois-Chicago and Wisconsin-Milwaukee in a tri-meet.

    Women's Tennis

    Review: The women's tennis team did not compete last week.

    Preview: The Orange and Blue will return to action this week to wrap up the fall season at the Purdue Invitational, Nov. 4-6 in West Lafayette, Ind.

    No. 16 Men's Golf

    Review: Illinois completed its fall schedule and will be back in tournament action next year beginning with the Tinervin Cup in Coral Springs, Fla., on Jan. 28, 2012.

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