Women's Swimming
Illini Battle Illinois State Friday Night in Home Finale

The Illini will honor nine seniors prior to the meet on Friday night.
The Illini will honor nine seniors prior to the meet on Friday night.

Nov. 10, 2011

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - The Fighting Illini swimming and diving team will return to Champaign Friday night to host Illinois State for Senior Night in the team's final home meet of the season. The Illini have dominated the Redbirds over the years, leading the all-time series 22-6.

"We want to keep the momentum going from last weekend," Illini head coach Sue Novitsky said. "There are always things that we're going to have to work on as individuals, as competitors and also as a team. We're going to have a lot going on with Senior Day, so emotions will be running high, and they're pretty tired so they have to try to get themselves calm and relaxed so that they're ready to compete as best they can."

The Orange and Blue enter Friday's meet with a 3-2 record, coming off last weekend's wins over Michigan State, Illinois-Chicago and Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Sophomore Courtney Pope won three events to help Illinois clinch its first three victories of the season, while classmate Jessica Holz extended her 200-back winning streak to four meets.

Meanwhile, in-state rival Illinois State brings a 2-0 record into the weekend with wins over Evansville and Nebraska.

"Illinois State competes very hard," Novitsky said. "They're always a scrappy team, so we have to be on our game. That's what I want to see us do. I don't just want to see us compete to win each race but compete to put together that complete race for the whole meet."

The Illini will honor seniors Caitlin Conroy, Britni Fisher, Rachel Japp Joyce, Kelly Kunkel, Torrey Loper, Kristen Manias, Brittany McGowan, April McKee and Michelle Mehnert prior to the meet.

"This senior class is the class that committed to us when the rec building was still under construction and was set to open that fall," Novitsky said. "They're the ones that took a chance on us and believed in what the other coaches and I were telling them about the team, the school and what we were trying to build. They took a huge leap of faith with us. It's been fun to watch them grow and mature during their four years here, and we want to send them out with a bang."

Results and recap will be available at fightingillini.com.