Sophomore Caitlin Dombart has started every game this season at outside defense.
Sept. 16, 2009
Game 8: LOYOLA-CHICAGO (1-7-0) at ILLINOIS (3-3-1)
Friday, Sept. 18 // 7 p.m. // Illinois Soccer Stadium // Champaign, Ill.
The Series: Illinois leads Loyola 1-0-0 in the all-time series, with the Illini winning convincingly in St. Louis in 1997. Last meeting: Illinois 4, Loyola 0 (Sept. 5, 1997)
Game 9: MILWAUKEE (2-4-2) at ILLINOIS (3-3-1)
Sunday, Sept. 20 // 12 p.m. // Illinois Soccer Stadium // Champaign, Ill.
The Series: Illinois and Milwaukee have only met once before, with the team's playing to a scoreless tie in Milwaukee in 2005. Last meeting: Illinois 0, Milwaukee 0; 20T (Aug. 28, 2005)
On The Air
Livestats: GameTracker on fightingillini.com for both matches
3-0-0 this year when scoring first
73-20-4 all-time at Illinois Soccer Stadium
72-31-4 all-time in non-conference games
Illini Set For Final Non-Conference Games
Illinois will play its final non-conference games of the season this weekend, returning home to the Illinois Soccer Stadium for a pair of matches. The Orange and Blue will host Loyola-Chicago on Friday at 7 p.m., then return to the field for a match-up against Milwaukee on Sunday at noon.
The Illini are aiming to return to their winning ways and find the the back of the net after dropping a pair of matches last weekend at the Nike Portland Invitational. On Sept. 13 against Washington, Illinois was shut-out for the first time in 2009.
This Sunday's match against Milwaukee marks the final game of the non-conference season for the Illini, as their remaining 10 games are all against the Big Ten.
Loyola has a record of 1-7-0 entering Friday's match, with the lone win coming in a 2-0 victory at Northern Illinois on Sept. 13. Illinois will be the third Big Ten team the Ramblers have faced this season, as they have already dropped matches to Northwestern by a score of 1-0 and Iowa by a score of 4-1. Loyola has struggled to find the back of the net in 2009, as the team was shut-out in the first six games of the year. The Ramblers' have been out-scored by their opponents 14-3 so far this season.
Milwaukee started its season 2-0-2, but has struggled since in dropping four consecutive matches. During that stretch, Milwaukee has scored just two goals. The Panthers' schedule is filled with familiar Illini opponents, as they will face a total of seven Big Ten teams during the regular season. Prior to Milwaukee's match-up with Illinois on Sunday, it will play at Purdue on Friday. The Panthers are aiming this season for their second straight trip to the NCAA Tournament.
Last Time Out
No. 11 Illinois had a tough weekend of soccer at the Nike Portland Invitational, dropping a pair of games to fall to 3-3-1 on the season. The Illini lost to No. 2 Portland by a score of 4-1 last Friday, then dropped a hard-fought match to Washington 1-0 on Sunday.
On Friday, Pilots midfielder Michelle Enyeart scored a hat trick and had five shots on goal to lead the way for Portland. After taking a 3-0 deficit into halftime, Illinois cut the lead to 3-1 in the 61st on an unassisted goal by Marissa Mykines that hit the far post and went in. Mykines' goal was just the second the Pilots have allowed all season. Portland got the goal back less than 30 seconds later, however, as Enyeart completed her hat trick and made the final score 4-1.
The Illini tried to rebound on Sunday, but fell just short as Washington scored in the 83rd to get a 1-0 win. Illinois had its chances on goal and played the Huskies evenly, but the team was unable to take advantage of its offensive opportunities. The match marked the first time the Illini have been shut out all season.
Illinois In The Polls
This weekend marks the first time this season Illinois will be playing as an unranked team. The Illini were ranked No. 11 in the previous two NSCAA polls, but dropped out of this week's top-25 following two losses. Illinois is still ranked No. 20 by Soccer Times and is the preseason pick to finish third in the Big Ten by the conference coaches.
Junior forward Jordan Hilbrands has had a breakout 2009 thus far, with five goals on the season to lead the Illini and rank third in the Big Ten. She has been consistently dangerous, as 10 of her 14 shots this year have been on goal. Hilbrands has had multiple goal games twice, scoring two goals apiece in Illinois' wins against UC Santa Barbara and #18 Colorado. After her performance against the Buffaloes, the Bexley, Ohio native was named a Primetime Performer of the Week by CollegeSoccer360.com. Heading into this year, Hilbrands had just two career goals.
SoccerFest Set For Next Weekend
Illinois will attempt to break its home attendance record next weekend in hosting the fourth annual SoccerFest on Sunday, Sept. 27. The highlight of the event will be the Illini's game at 1 p.m. against Minnesota, which will open the Big Ten season and be televised live on the Big Ten Network. The Orange and Blue will look to continue their success on SoccerFest, as they are an undefeated 3-0-0 in the previous three years of the event.
Pre-game festivities include free food, live music, giveaways and free inflatable games for children. Admission to the event is free, with the gates opening at 11:30 a.m. and the game starting at 1 p.m.
Mykines Stepping Up
Sophomore Marissa Mykines has become one of the most consistent Illini in 2009, starting every match and playing the most minutes out of any midfielder. Last weekend in two games at the Nike Portland Invitational, Mykines was Illinois' most dangerous offensive player as she had four of the team's nine shots on goal. The Spokane, Wash. native also scored Illinois' lone goal last weekend, as she connected on a shot against #2 Portland. Mykines' goal was just the second the Pilots have given up all season. The sophomore is tied for second on the team with six points and scored Illinios' first goal of the season against Illinois State.
Read Named Big Ten Freshman of the Week
Freshman forward Niki Read was named Big Ten Freshman of the Week on Sept. 7 after tallying four points in the Illini's matches against No. 9 UCLA and UC Santa Barbara. The Lake Orion, Mich. native had the first assist of her career against the Bruins, then scored a goal and an assist against UC Santa Barbara. Read shared the Big Ten laurel with Minnesota goalkeeper Cat Parkhill.
Read has been one of Illinois' most dynamic players this season, playing the most minutes out of any forward and attempting a team-high 16 shots.
Finding The Back Of The Net
Despite scoring just one goal last weekend, Illinois is still averaging 1.71 goals per game, a major improvement from 2008 when the team averaged 1.04 goals per game. The Illini have been shut out just once this year, something that happened to them nine times last season. A total of six players have scored so far, led by Jordan Hilbrands' five goals.
For the season, Illinois is:
3-0-0 when scoring first
3-0-0 when scoring at least two goals
3-0-0 when Jordan Hilbrands scores
Nweke Looks To Continue Climb
Forward Chichi Nweke has already made her place in the Illinois offensive record books, and looks to continue climbing the charts in her senior season. Nweke currently ranks seventh in career points with 51, is tied for eighth in career goals (18) and 10th in career assists (15). She also holds the school record for goals in a game with six other players, with a hat trick against Utah in her freshman season. The Virginia native scored her first goal of 2009 last weekend against No. 9 UCLA.
Illini Nearly Unbeatable At Home
Illini losses at the Illinois Soccer Stadium have become a rarity, with the Orange and Blue posting a home record of 39-6-3 (.844) beginning in 2004. The Orange and Blue got the 2009 home slate off to a positive start, with a 4-0 home win over Illinois State on Aug. 21. The last time Illinois lost more than one game at home was in 2003, with an Illinois Soccer Stadium record of 8-3-1. Its best season at home was 2004 when the team went 8-0-1.
Illinois may have put together its toughest schedule ever under head coach Janet Rayfield with its 2009 list of opponents. Ten of the 19 teams the Illini will face this season made the 2008 NCAA Tournament field, including College Cup participant UCLA and Portland, which advanced to the Elite Eight. In the current NSCAA rankings, three of Illinois' opponents are in the top-11 (No. 2 Portland, No. 4 UCLA, No. 11 Purdue), and the Illini will face seven teams that appear in the top-25.
Illinois TV and Radio Broadcasts
Illinois soccer will receive unprecedented exposure this season, with at least three games televised on the Big Ten Network and a total of nine games broadcast on WDWS AM 1400 (and also streamed on fightingillini.com).
The Illini's three matches on the BTN in 2009 tie them with Michigan State for the most televised games in the Big Ten. Illinois' game at Northwestern on Nov. 6 could also potentially be televised if it is chosen for what is now a Wildcard game. Below is a list of the remaining television and radio broadcasts:
Illinois on the Big Ten Network
Sunday, Sept. 27 vs. Minnesota // LIVE
Sunday, Oct. 25 at Penn State // LIVE
Friday, Oct. 30 vs. Michigan State // Delayed
Illinois on WDWS AM 1400
Sunday, Sept. 27 vs. Minnesota // Delayed
Friday, Oct. 2 at Purdue // Delayed
Sunday, Oct. 4 at Indiana // Delayed
Sunday, Oct. 11 vs. Wisconsin // LIVE
Thursday, Oct. 22 vs. Ohio State // LIVE
Friday, Oct. 30 vs. Michigan State // Delayed
Sunday, Nov. 1 vs. Michigan // LIVE
All-Big Ten Performers Return
Six members of the 2009 Illini squad have earned Big Ten accolades in past seasons. Senior Jackie Santacaterina was named to the All-Big Ten second team in both 2007 and 2008, while junior Danielle Kot was an All-Big Ten second team selection last season. Senior Chichi Nweke was the 2006 Big Ten Freshman of the Year and named to the All-Freshman team the same season, while Kot, Laura Knutson and Cory Steigerwald were selected to the 2007 Big Ten All-Freshman team. Additionally, senior goalkeeper Alexandra Kapicka was named to the 2008 Big Ten All-Tournament team.