TEMPE, Ariz. — Illinois volleyball sat three starters for the duration of Friday afternoon’s match against Texas Southern in the Sun Devil Invitational and still pulled off its fifth consecutive sweep and eighth of the season with a 25-13, 25-7, 25-11 victory against the Tigers.
The News-Gazette’s five-person “fan favorites” piqued my interest this week as I tried to imagine five Illini athletes who flashed more greatness and staying power than Olympic champion Bobby Richards and football superstars Dick Butkus, J.C. Caroline and Buddy Young.
WICHITA, Kan. — A slow start against Kentucky didn’t keep No. 7 Illinois from adding a second consecutive win against a Top 25 team to its season résumé. The Illini needed a brief push into extra points in the first set but still managed a 26-24, 25-19, 25-18 sweep of the No. 21 Wildcats in their first match of the Shocker Classic.
CHAMPAIGN — The plan last fall to replace Vanessa DiBernardo’s stabilizing force in the Illinois midfield was to hand those duties to Taylore Peterson.
But that old adage about “best-laid plans” exists for a reason.
Administrators administrate. Fundraisers chase money. Professors teach.
In most cases, our jobs aren’t complicated. Salesmen sell. Accountants run numbers. Farmers farm.
But as we’re starting to understand with the travails of the UI’s Mike Thomas, the obligations of a collegiate athletic director run the gamut of complexity.
STATE COLLEGE, Pa. — Illinois looked on the verge of extending Friday’s match against No. 2 Stanford to five sets, rallying late in the fourth to take a lead on the Cardinal.
CHAMPAIGN — Forty-nine career goals later, Jannelle Flaws still remembers No. 1.
It came during her redshirt freshman season — eight matches into a career initially derailed by a torn ACL during her senior season at Glenbrook South High School that robbed her of her true freshman season in 2010.
CHAMPAIGN — Jannelle Flaws’ spot atop Illinois’ all-time goals-scored list is secured. The sixth-year forward scored twice in Illinois’ 5-2 victory against Texas Christian on Friday night, tying Tara Hurless’ record of 47 career goals set in the 2004 season.
It can happen any place, at any time — after football two-a-days at Camp Rantoul or Friday night's volleyball season opener at Huff Hall.
Random drug testing of athletes is as much a part of the university experience as pregame pep talks and postgame press conferences.