UI grateful senior has been durable, good

CHAMPAIGN – There certainly were bumps and bruises along the way, and Christen Karniski never imagined playing every match of her career.

But tonight against Iowa, Karniski will start her 85th career match, and the Big Ten tourney opener will tie her with Tara Hurless for most career starts.

Illini fall at Minnesota

ST. PAUL, Minn. – Illinois allowed two second-half goals and fell to Minnesota 2-1 on Sunday.

Natasha Karniski scored 2:51 into the game for Illinois.

Tony Bleill's Illini Q&A

This week's guest: Ella Masar.

Who's that Illini?

I'm considered the best goalkeeper in UI's soccer history. I received several All-American honors in 2003, and I own the season and career school records for saves and shutouts.

Two freshmen have made immediate impact for Illini

CHAMPAIGN – Emily Zurrer doesn't really sound like a Canuck, and Marti Desjarlais doesn't sound like your typical Green Bay Packers fan. Desjarlais, who went to high school just outside of Milwaukee, doesn't even have a cheesehead hat.

But that doesn't stop their Illinois soccer teammates from teasing them.

Quick strikes lead Illini

URBANA– Freshman Emily Zurrer and Urbana product Ella Masar scored 44 seconds apart, and Christen Karniski added a goal and an assist to lead Illinois past Illinois State 3-0 on Friday night.

"It definitely was a monkey off Ella's back to finally get a goal," UI coach Janet Rayfield said. "And (Zurrer) was so composed in the box. We trained her up front all spring, and maybe that was a good thing because she just put the ball down and got it in the back of the net."

Illini blank Western Illinois

CHAMPAIGN – Laura Redmond, Natasha Karniski and Marti Desjarlais scored to lead Illinois to a 3-0 victory against Western Illinois on Sunday.

Pride, effort pay off

CHAMPAIGN – Revenge is a strange thing. If you're the Nebraska women's soccer team, revenge hurts. After being beaten dramatically in last season's Sweet 16 by the Illini, Nebraska wanted to give the hurt of last season back to Janet Rayfield's squad.

Not so fast.

Competition drives squad

CHAMPAIGN – They went into the opening weekend with a fresh No. 13 ranking and high hopes of kicking off the season in style before their date with No. 17 Nebraska.

But the Illinois women's soccer team came home from Milwaukee with an 0-1-1 record, no goals and plenty of questions. Coach Janet Rayfield started getting answers in practice this week, and she thinks today's 7 p.m. match with Nebraska – the highest-profile home match of the season – actually will help ease the pressure on the Illini.

Illini offense starts slow

MILWAUKEE, Wis. – The No. 13 Illinois soccer team played to a scoreless tie Sunday against Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

Illinois (0-1-1) outshot the Panthers 18-17 and took six corner kicks to Wisconsin-Milwaukee's two.

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