Points no problem for NCAA rookies
CHAMPAIGN – The new coach who's racking up all the points at Illinois doesn't call plays at Memorial Stadium.
"Anytime you can put four or five goals by on a team, you've got to be pleased as a coach," Jillian Ellis said four games into her UI women's soccer reign and yet to lose. "I mean, soccer's not notoriously known as a high-scoring game."
For a first-year Division I program, Ellis' Illini have had no problem putting up points. They knocked in four goals in the opener against Loyola-Chicago and nine over the weekend en route to the Washington University Tournament title.
Junior Sarah Aberle has four, tops on the team.
"I'm not guaranteeing a goalfest Wednesday night, but I think if people come and watch, they'll see we try to really play this game," Ellis said. "We're playing attractive soccer."
See for yourself at 7 p.m. Wednesday when the Illini kick off the home season against Eastern Illinois at the First and Stadium Multiplex. The Big Ten season kicks off Friday at Iowa.
"We know that every game that we play is going to be harder and harder, especially when we get into conference matches," senior goalie Erica Loechl said.
Wednesday's no breeze, either. Eastern Illinois' 3-year-old program is 1-3, but its losses have come to Kansas (1-0), Marquette (1-0) and 20th-ranked Wisconsin (3-0), all name schools.
The Panthers return all of their starters from a 16-5 team.
"We came into this not really knowing how we would fare, and we've won our first four," Loechl said. "So our expectations now are to keep winning."