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    Illini Picked Second in Big Ten Preseason Poll
    Head coach Janet Rayfield's squad was picked to finish second by the Big Ten coaches.

    Head coach Janet Rayfield's squad was picked to finish second by the Big Ten coaches.

    Aug. 18, 2008

    PARK RIDGE, Ill. - The Illinois soccer team has been picked to finish second in the Big Ten preseason coaches' poll, as announced by the conference office on Monday. The Illini earned the No. 2 slot in the coaches' poll for the third-straight year after reaching the second round of the NCAA Tournament in 2007.

    The Orange and Blue look to make their sixth-consecutive NCAA appearance behind the veteran leadership of All-Big Ten first-team defender Emily Zurrer and All-Big Ten second-team midfielder Jackie Santacaterina. Illinois finished the 2007 campaign with a 12-7-2 record and returns five Illini who earned all-conference honors last season.

    Penn State topped the preseason poll for the sixth-consecutive time. The Nittany Lions compiled a 2007 record of 18-4-2, winning the Big Ten regular season championship and making the NCAA Tournament for the 13th year in a row.

    Illinois opens the regular season against the Missouri Tigers on Saturday, Aug. 23, at 5 p.m. in Columbia, Mo. The Orange and Blue return home the following weekend to host the Illini Challenge Cup presented by Gameday Spirit and Dish Network. Illinois will face Iowa State at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 29, at the Illinois Soccer and Track Stadium, while a matchup between Pitt and Dayton will precede Illinois' home-opener at 5 p.m. The tournament wraps up on Sunday, Aug. 31, with consolation and championship matches beginning at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m., respectively.

    Big Ten Women's Soccer Preseason Coaches' Poll

    1 Penn State 2 Illinois 3 Purdue 4 Indiana 5 Ohio State 6 Minnesota T-7 Michigan T-7 Michigan State 9 Wisconsin 10 Northwestern 11 Iowa

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