Rayfield in line for new deal

Calling Illinois “the perfect fit,” longtime soccer coach Janet Rayfield isn’t about to leave a program she built into an NCAA tournament regular.

That’s a good thing.

Rayfield and Illinois have agreed on a five-year contract extension that soon will be made official.

NCAA soccer: North Carolina 9, Illinois 2

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — Illinois’ impressive late-season run ended with a thud.

No. 13 North Carolina had its way in a 9-2 win against the Illini in an NCAA tournament second-round match. Illinois, making its 11th NCAA appearance, finishes 10-9-4.

Huth's Illini soccer second-round storylines

The Illinois soccer team will try to stay alive in the NCAA tournament when it faces host North Carolina at 5:30 p.m. Friday in a second-round match. Staff writer JEFF HUTH offers four storylines as the Illini try to advance to the Sweet 16 for the first time since 2008.

Different paths

NCAA soccer: Illini move on

COLUMBIA, Mo. — The scene was all too familiar: NCAA tournament game. At Missouri. Match headed to a penalty kick shootout.

Just like in 2008, this version of the Illini didn’t flinch.

NCAA soccer tourney: Illini vs. Mizzou

Illinois (10-8-3) at Missouri (14-7-0), 6:30 p.m. today

Setting the scene

Rayfield rates national honor

CHAMPAIGN — Illinois soccer coach Janet Rayfield was selected as the first female recipient of the National Soccer Coaches Association of America’s Honor Award.

The award, which has been given annually since 1942, is the most prestigious distinction the NSCAA presents to an individual. The award recognizes a person’s contribution to soccer and to the NSCAA.

Soccer team draws Mizzou

Following a run to the Big Ten tournament championship match, Janet Rayfield’s Illinois soccer team learned Monday it qualified for the NCAA tournament. A look:

Soccer falls short in Big Ten title match

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — The Illinois soccer team had plenty of chances to defend its Big Ten tournament championship on Sunday.

Facing No. 21 Ohio State, a team they had already beaten this season, the Illini kept pouring shot after shot at the Buckeyes keeper. Time after time, tournament defensive MVP Jillian McVicker was up to the challenge.

Illini reach title match — again

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — She doesn’t keep last year’s Big Ten tournament trophy on the team bus. Or make her starting midfielders rub it for good luck before taking the field at Armstrong Stadium.

But make no mistake, Janet Rayfield has reminded her Illini of their status a time or two at this week’s soccer tournament at Indiana.

Soccer team stuns Minnesota

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — If Illinois’ soccer team is playing in the Big Ten tournament and the match comes down to a penalty-kick shootout, don’t count out the Illini.