CHAMPAIGN — Illinois’ soccer team took an early exit in the Big Ten tournament, but coach Janet Rayfield’s club is continuing its journey: in the NCAA tournament.
The Illini (10-8-2) received an at-large bid Monday and will play Washington State at 3 p.m. Saturday in the first round in Pullman, Wash.
“We were excited to see our name pop up,” Rayfield said. “It’s been a roller coaster of a season. There have been a lot of positive things and some really tough times. To get a new life and wipe the slate clean with a chance to play in the NCAA tournament is what everybody hopes for. We are going to make the most of it.”
Illinois was one of eight Big Ten teams to earn spots in the 64-team field.
In last season’s NCAA tourney, Illinois topped Missouri before falling to eventual national champion North Carolina.