After finishing her playing career in 2005, Natasha Karniski joins the Illini coaching staff as a student assistant coach.
In her playing days, Karniski was known for her pace and ability to get behind defenders as a goal-scoring threat. She was also extremely durable, finishing her career fourth on the career games played list with 87. She started 19 of the 22 games she played in during 2005, scoring a career-high five goals, good for second on the team.
Karniski had a knack for the big goal during her career, scoring a pair of game-winning goals in her career and a notable game-tying goal. She put home the Illini's first goal of the 2005 season in a 1-0 win over No. 17 Nebraska and also scored the tying goal in the NCAA second round at Texas A&M in 2004, a game Illinois went on to win. Her other game-winner was the first of five Illini goals against Northwestern in the 2004 Big Ten Tournament.
She also excelled in the classroom as an undergraduate, earning Academic All-District honors twice from CoSIDA/ESPN the Magazine and earning a pair of second team NSCAA Scholar All-Central Region honors. She was a three-time Academic All-Big Ten selection as well.
Karniski will graduate in Dec., 2006, with a B.S. in integrative biology.