CHAMPAIGN — Janet Rayfield has her deepest rosters in a decade. Both in terms of number of players — the 30 Illinois soccer players are more than in any of the past nine seasons — and in an experienced group with 18 upperclassmen.
CHAMPAIGN — Reagan Robishaw’s first tackle during Illinois’ opening preseason practice drew more of a reaction from one of her teammates than from the Illini midfielder herself.
“I didn’t even think twice about it until afterward,” Robishaw said. “(Taylore Peterson) was like, ‘How did it feel?’ And I’m like, ‘How did what feel?’ ”
Where they stand: Big Ten preseason poll
1. Penn State (22-3-2, 8-2-1 Big Ten in 2015)
Defending national champs have sat atop preseason poll every year since it began in 2003.
2. Rutgers (19-4-3, 7-2-2)
Leading scorer Colby Ciarrocca (nine goals) returns after leading Scarlet Knights to College Cup.
Friday’s probable starters: Kara Marbury, 5-10, Jr. (9 goals, 4 assists last season); Patricia George, 5-8, So. (0 goals, 0 assists)
CHAMPAIGN — Illinois reached the NCAA tournament in 10 of Janet Rayfield’s first 12 seasons as coach. The past two seasons, however, are the first back-to-back the Illini — who open the season at 7 p.m. on Friday at home against Morehead State — have missed out on postseason play.
On Mondays, our award-winning photographers tell their stories. This week: Rick Danzl.
We often are assigned to shoot portraits of athletes that can be used with stories throughout a season. One of the challenges when shooting most groups is trying to come up with ideas to ensure we have a variety of poses for the dozens of subjects we photograph.