Review: No. 16 Illinois soccer fell in the NCAA Tournament Second Round to No. 4-nationally ranked and No. 2-seeded Oklahoma State at Cowgirl Soccer Stadium, 1-0, in Stillwater, Okla., on Friday evening. The Illini outshot the Cowgirls over the course of the contest, while the Illinois defense held Oklahoma State to only 12 attempts as the Orange and Blue controlled possession for the majority of the game.
Marissa Mykines nearly tallied a goal in the sixth minute to stake the Orange and Blue to an early lead with an opportunistic shot from just outside the 18-yard box. Mykines took a couple of touches to dribble on net and fired a line-drive strike that rose with the 20-25 MPH sustained winds. Oklahoma State goalkeeper Adrianna Franch was not expecting the play and was unable to reach up in time as the ball bounced off the cross bar and deflected over the net for a goal kick.
Oklahoma State tallied the lone goal of the game in the 25th minute to create the difference in the contest. Annika Niemeier found the back of the net with an attempt into the right corner following passes from Krista Lopez and Megan Marchesano.
In the second half, with the Cowgirls playing with the wind at their back, Illinois was able to maintain pressure on the Oklahoma State defense and come away with high-quality chances as a result. Julie Ewing provided the best scoring opportunity with an on-frame strike in the 80th minute. Ewing's attempt was similar to DiBernardo's ninth-minute shot, as Ewing spun off the Oklahoma State defense and placed a strike near the right post; however, Franch was able to extend and pull the ball down before it could cross the goal line.
Illinois ends the season with a 17-5-2 overall record, the most victories for an individual campaign in program history.
No. 7 Volleyball (25-4, 14-4 Big Ten)
Review: No. 7 Illinois split the weekend trip to Michigan for the third year in a row, falling 3-1 to Michigan State on Friday night before bouncing back with a 3-1 win over No. 23 Michigan on Saturday night. The Illini will enter the final week of Big Ten play in a tie for second place with the Nittany Lions and Boilermakers at 14-4. All three teams trail Nebraska (16-2) by two games with two matches remaining, meaning the Cornhuskers have clinched at least a share of the conference crown.
Against the Spartans, senior Michelle Bartsch tallied 22 kills, but it wasn't enough as the Orange and Blue fell 3-1 (25-14, 23-25, 25-21, 25-22) to MSU. The Illini were unable to get going offensively, hitting only .165 compared to .240 from the Big Ten leader in attack percentage.
The Illini hit .361 in the victory (22-25, 25-14, 27-25, 25-21) over the Wolverines. Senior Colleen Ward paced the Illini with a .419 attack percentage and 21 kills, just one shy of her season high. Freshman Liz McMahon (13) and junior Erin Johnson (8) also came up big with 21 combined kills and only one error for the Illini.
The Illini, who hit over .300 in all three sets they won, matched their fewest errors in a four-set match this season with 10 and held a 12-2 blocking advantage over the Wolverines, who only hit .190 on the evening. Ward (21 kills, 10 digs) and Bartsch (15 kills, 11 digs) turned in their 16th and 17th double-doubles, respectively, of the year. Senior setter Annie Luhrsen reached 50 assists for the sixth time this season while sophomore Jennifer Beltran (15) and senior Rachel Feldman (13) each had double-digit digs.
Preview: Illinois will wrap up the regular season with a pair of home matches this week at Huff Hall. The Illini will face Northwestern on Wednesday night at 7 p.m. before ending the Big Ten campaign against Iowa on Saturday night at 7 p.m.
Women's Basketball (2-3)
Review: The Illini went 1-2 last week, knocking off Memphis at home before falling to Oregon and California on a west coast road trip. Illinois topped the Tigers, 62-54, but fell to the Ducks, 77-74, and to the Golden Bear, 80-56.
Against Memphis, junior Karisma Penn was dominant at times in scoring a season-best 26 points and pulling down 13 rebounds for her first double-double of the season. Sophomore Kersten Magrum had her first career double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds and junior Adrienne GodBold nearly did the same with eight points and a career-high 13 rebounds to help pace the Illini.
Despite a strong second-half run to erase a 16-point deficit, the Illini came up just short in a heartbreaking three-point loss to Oregon. Four Illini finished in double figures, as Magrum led the way with 24 points and 12 rebounds, marking her second straight double-double and the second of her career.
Three Illini reached double figures against Cal, as Penn and Magrum posted 14 points apiece, and GodBold finished with a season-high 10. But it was not enough for Illinois, which fell to 2-3 on the season.
Preview: The Orange and Blue will head to Puerto Rico this week to take on Green Bay (Nov. 24) and Arizona State (Nov. 25) in the San Juan Shootout to close out a 12-day road trip.
Men's Cross Country
Review: Senior Jim Riddle and junior Jordan Hebert closed out their season by finishing the 10K NCAA Championship race 126th and 140th, respectively. Riddle crossed the finish line with a time of 31.00.3 while Hebert finished seven seconds behind, with a season-best 10K time of 31:07.7. Hebert's performance was just seven seconds away from his personal best set at least year's regional race. This marked the first time in program history, Illinois sent two individual runners to the national meet.
Swimming and Diving
Review: In the final day of the three-day Northwestern Invitational, the Fighting Illini swimming and diving team captured a second-place finish with 694 points. Northwestern, which never trailed throughout the meet, claimed first place with a score of 866, while Iowa State took third with 693 points.
The Orange and Blue got off to a solid start once again, as senior Brittany McGowan captured a fifth-place finish in the 50 fly with the fourth-fastest performance in school history (25.71). Earlier in the day, McGowan replaced her own school record with the fastest 50 fly in Illini history (25.49) during prelims. McGowan also scored points for the team with her performance in the 200 fly (2:08.25).
Freshman Alison Meng turned in a solid performance as well, finishing fifth in the 50 back (26.72), making her the fourth-fastest Illini to swim the event with the seventh-fastest performance in school history. Meng placed seventh in the 50 fly, securing a personal-best time of 25.87 to become the fifth-fastest individual with the seventh-best performance in Illini history after posting the ninth-fastest performance in school history (25.91) during prelims.
The Illini ended the night on a high note with a third-place finish in the 400 free relay, as the team of Pope, Lamb, Manias and McGowan captured the fastest time (3:25.72) this season in that event.
Preview: The Illini will return to action in January, when they travel to Iowa to take on the Hawkeyes in a Big Ten battle on Jan. 14 at 11 a.m. CT.
Review: The Fighting Illini remain undefeated after taking down their first top-10 opponent this season in No. 8 Lehigh, 22-18 while defeating Clarion 34-13 on Sunday. Four Illini went 2-0 on the day, including Jesse Delgado (125), B.J. Futrell (133), Eric Terrazas (149) and Jordan Blanton (174).
Bonus points proved to be crucial in the Illini's 22-18 victory over the Mountain Hawks as a pin and four major decisions pushed the Orange and Blue to victory. Bonus points proved to be crucial in the Illini's 22-18 victory over the Mountain Hawks as a pin and four major decisions pushed the Orange and Blue to victory. The dual started at 125 with No. 17 Jesse Delgado earning a 9-1 major decision over Lehigh's Mason Beckman. Third-ranked B.J. Futrell increased the score to 10-0 after his pin of Alex Abreu in a time of 4:42. Sixth-ranked Steve Dutton cut the Illini lead to 10-3 after he defeated Illinois' Tucker Armstrong by a 6-0 decision. Major decisions by No. 10 Eric Terrazas over Kyle Rosser at 149 (10-2) and Jackson Morse over No. 18 Brian Tanen at 157 (9-1) to make the score 18-3. Conrad Polzdefaulted by injury against fourth-ranked Brandon Hatchett at 165 to cut the lead to 18-9. Third-ranked Jordan Blanton earned a 17-7 major decision over Nate Brown at 174 while second-ranked Robert Hamlin defeated Illinois' Tony Dallago in a 9-5 decision at 184 to bring the score to 22-12. The Mountain Hawks earned six more points with decisions by ninth-ranked Joe Kennedy over No. 17 Mario Gonzalez at 197 and No. 1 Zach Rey over Illinois' Pat Walker at heavyweight. However, the Illini already had the match in hand and closed out a 22-18 victory.
The Orange and Blue dominated Clarion with Futrell (125) and Blanton (174) opening their bouts with pins of 4:32 and 3:52, respectively to give the Illini an early 12-0 lead. At 125, Delgado posted a 20-3 technical fall over Trey Hicks while Devin Cook defeated Illinois' Tucker Armstrong in a 4-3 decision to make the score 17-3. Terrazas extended the lead with his 16-4 major decision over Cameron Moran at 149. The Golden Eagles cut the score to 17-13 after eighth-ranked James Fleming pinned Illinois' Jackson Morse at 157 and No. 11 Bekzod Abdurakhmanov defeated Kyle Dooley in a 16-4 major decision. The Illini responded with three weights earning victories, starting with Dallago at 184. Dallago beat Steve Cressley with a 10-2 major decision while Mario Gonzalez posted a decision and Walker pinned Quintas McCorkle to make the final score 34-13.
Preview: The Fighting Illini will have a few weeks off before traveling to Iowa City to compete in their first Big Ten dual against the Iowa Hawkeyes on Friday, Dec. 2. The dual will be available on BTN.com beginning at 7 p.m. CT.