Junior Danielle Kot and the Fighting Illini will open the season ranked No. 17 by the NSCAA.
Aug. 11, 2009
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - The Illinois soccer team will begin the 2009 season ranked No. 17 by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA), as the preseason poll was released today. This marks the sixth consecutive year that Janet Rayfield's squad begins the season ranked in the top 25, with this year's Illini scheduled to face four squads who appear in the preseason rankings.
Illinois is one of three Big Ten teams appearing in the preseason rankings, joining No. 12 Penn State and No. 19 Minnesota. The Nittany Lions and Gophers were co-Big Ten champions in 2008, while the Illini advanced to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament.
Along with Penn State and Minnesota, Illinois will face two teams ranked in the top five of the NSCAA preseason poll. The Orange and Blue will host No. 5 UCLA on Friday, Sept. 4 as part of the Illini Challenge Cup Presented by Gameday Spirit, then travel the next week to take on No. 4 Portland on Friday, Sept. 11 in the Nike Portland Invitational.
Illinois will host Cincinnati in an exhibition game this Friday at 4 p.m., officially opening the season on Friday, Aug. 21 against Illinois State at 7 p.m. at the Illinois Soccer Stadium.