RIFU, Japan — Illinois' soccer team might be without star midfielder Vanessa DiBernardo a while longer.
DiBernardo and her U.S. Under-20 National Team qualified for the quarterfinals of the FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup.
HIROSHIMA, Japan — Despite outshooting China 17-3, the United States was forced to settle for a 1-1 tie Thursday in its second match at the FIFA Under-20 Women's World Cup soccer tournament.
NORMAL — Freshman Nicole Breece scored off a pass from Niki Read in the first half, and the Illini earned a draw against fellow NCAA tourney team Illinois State on Sunday.
The No. 19 Illini outshot the Redbirds 7-2. Illinois State got on the board first, scoring on a penalty kick. Illinois answered five minutes later.
With two exhibition matches under its belt, the Illini soccer team kicks off the regular season at 7 p.m. Friday against Western Michigan at the Illinois Soccer Stadium. Staff writer JEFF HUTH previews the 19th-ranked Illini's prospects with five storylines:
Missing (but in action)
CHAMPAIGN — Senior keeper Steph Panozzo recorded 15 saves, leading 19th-ranked Illinois to a 2-1 victory against Kentucky on Sunday in a soccer exhibition.
Senior captain Kristen Gierman and junior Megan Pawloski scored goals for the Illini.
KANSAS CITY, Kan. — Coach Janet Rayfield’s Illinois soccer team was ranked 19th in the National Soccer Coaches Association of America’s preseason poll that was released Tuesday.
The Illini finished 17-5-2 last season and were 19th in the final poll.
CHICAGO — Illinois junior midfielder Vanessa DiBernardo was selected for the United States' Under-20 World Cup roster, coach Steve Swanson announced Thursday.
UI coach Janet Rayfield will be an assistant coach with the national squad, which is scheduled to compete later this month in Japan.
CHAMPAIGN — Janet Rayfield was 11 years old when Title IX of the Education Amendments became the law of the land in 1972.
She was still one year away from playing soccer for the first time. Seven years away from becoming a member of the first varsity women's soccer team at the University of North Carolina. And 18 years away from entering the college coaching profession.