Illini soccer sets schedule

Illini soccer sets schedule

CHAMPAIGN — Illinois' 2018 soccer schedule will pit the Illini against eight teams ranked in the final United Soccer Coaches Top 25 last season — including two in their first two matches — after the full slate was unveiled Wednesday.

Illinois will open its season against North Carolina on Aug. 16 in Durham, N.C., before facing Duke on its home field on Aug. 19. The perennial power Tar Heels finished the 2017 season ranked eighth nationally, while the Blue Devils were third after making the College Cup.

"Our nonconference schedule is a blend of in-state rivalries that will position us within our region and some of the toughest out-of-region competition we could put together with North Carolina, Duke and Oklahoma State," said Illinois coach Janet Rayfield, who will coach her 16th season in Champaign. "Opening the season against my alma mater, the 22-time national champion (Tar Heels), is indicative of the challenge that we have put before our team and the exciting season that lies ahead."

Illinois finished 5-14 in 2017 and 13th in the Big Ten with a 2-9 conference record. The Illini will open Big Ten play at Minnesota on Sept. 14. Their conference home opener is Sept. 20 against Ohio State.

Sections (3):Illini Sports, Sports, Soccer