Head coach Janet Rayfield enters her sixth season at the helm of Illinois soccer after leading the Illini to the Round of 16 in 2006.
Aug. 14, 2007
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - The University of Illinois women's soccer team earned a top-20 ranking in two national polls released Tuesday. Soccer Buzz magazine ranked the Illini No. 17 in the nation, while the Orange and Blue were tabbed No. 20 by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA). Soccer Buzz also ranked Illinois No. 2 in the Great Lakes region for the second consecutive season.
The two rankings mark the fourth-straight year Illinois has been ranked bin both preseason polls. The Illini garnered their highest preseason ranking in 2005 and tied it in 2006, when the Orange and Blue were tabbed No. 13 by the NSCAA.
Illinois will face a tough 2007 schedule, as five of the Illini's opponents also earned rankings. The Illini's first road match will pit them against UCLA, which was tabbed No. 3 by NSCAA and No. 2 by the Soccer Buzz. The Orange and Blue then prepare for back-to-back matches against two more ranked opponents, hosting No. 13/7 Florida (NSCAA/Soccer Buzz) before traveling to No. NR/26 Kansas. Big Ten rivals Penn State and Purdue also earned rankings of No. 7/12 and No. 15/NR, respectively.
The Illini open their season with a pair of exhibition matches at the Illinois Soccer and Track Stadium, hosting Butler on Friday, Aug. 24, at 6 p.m. and rounding out the preseason against Wisconsin-Milwaukee on Sunday, Aug. 26, at 2 p.m.
The following weekend, Illinois kicks off the regular season with a Friday home match against Missouri at 7 p.m. and it will be Little Illini Soccer Club night. The Illini will complete the homestand on Sunday against Xavier at 1 p.m. with a Labor Day $2 ticket special.