Top of the Morning, Feb. 13, 2019

Introducing JULIA GREUEL, a junior at the University of Illinois and the next president of Illini Pride, the student organization that supports sports of all sorts.

Top of the Morning, Feb. 9, 2019

It's not quite as big as, say, State Farm Center, but JESSE NAUMAN's "Illini Room" in the basement of his house in Granville takes up serious space.

"At some point, it became an obsession," the 41-year-old UI grad said of his memorabilia collection. "I'm just about out of room."

Jock Jams 2019

Jock Jams 2019 at Foellinger Auditorium on UI campus in Urbana on Monday, Jan. 29, 2019. The event benefitted Feed Our Kids, Childhood Leukemia Foundation, Athletes Against Anxiety and Depression and the Luke Tatsu Johnson Foundation.

Hype building toward future

CHAMPAIGN — The 2019 Illinois baseball recruiting class is the last one for coach Dan Hartleb that came without the benefit of the Susan and Clint Atkins Baseball Training Center. The eight players Illinois signed Wednesday, plus three more Hartleb said he couldn't yet talk about, all picked the Illini without knowing a major facility upgrade was on the way.

Illinois waiting on NCAA tournament fate

WESTFIELD, Ind. — Janet Rayfield has a busy weekend ahead. The Illinois soccer coach will be keeping an eye on conference tournaments across the country while keeping her team ready just in case good news comes Monday when the NCAA tournament field is announced.

Cunningham calm under pressure

CHAMPAIGN — Illinois goalkeeper Jaelyn Cunningham guessed right on the first penalty kick Wisconsin took in Sunday's Big Ten tournament quarterfinal match in Madison, Wis.

Dani Rhodes still scored for the Badgers on that penalty kick, evening the score at 1-1 in the first half. But the fact Cunningham was close to making a save provided a little confidence.

Illini soccer advances to Big Ten semifinals

MADISON, Wis. — Winning didn't come quickly for the Illinois soccer team. And it almost didn't come at all.

Asmussen | Rayfield is the 'tie that binds'

CHAMPAIGN — Earlier in the week, Janet Rayfield took a call in her office.

It was former Illini Brittany Garrett. She was in town with her two kids and wanted to stop by to say hello.

"Those are the things that are meaningful," Rayfield said Thursday afternoon in her office at the Bielfeldt Athletics Administration Building.

Illini change fortunes after back-to-back down years

CHAMPAIGN — The foundation for Illinois soccer's drastic turnaround this season was laid in January.

The Illini were coming off a 5-14 season — the worst in program history — that saw them score just 13 goals. That followed a 6-11-2 record in 2016. Those two seasons were not how the Illini wanted the program to be defined.

It's make or break time for Illinois soccer

Scoring surge

Illinois started the season with a resurgent offense. After scoring just 13 goals in 2017, the Illini tied that mark five matches in and topped it the next time out.

Still led by senior Katie Murray with five goals, scoring has dipped in Big Ten play with five goals in seven matches.