Illinois relishes its role

CHAMPAIGN – They would have liked a better seeding at this week''s Big Ten tournament, but Tara Hurless and her Illinois soccer teammates don''t mind playing the underdog role in Columbus, Ohio.

The Illini (12-4-2) are the fourth seed heading into Thursday''s quarterfinal match with fifth-seeded Northwestern.

Q & A: Paula Faherty

Junior Paula Faherty, a three-year starter in the midfield, is one of the Illini''s staples. She was named to the All-Big Ten tournament team a year ago and was also honored as an All-Academic Big Ten selection. As a freshman, her five assists tied for the team lead.

UI''s veterans prove worth in tie against Hoosiers

CHAMPAIGN – Goalkeeper Leisha Alcia made 13 saves and defender Sarah Brown scored the team''s goal as Illinois'' women''s soccer team played to a 1-1 tie against visiting Indiana on Sunday.

Indiana scored with 15 seconds remaining in regulation to force overtime. Illinois had three shots in the two extra periods.

Hurless'' goal helps Illini turn the corner

CHAMPAIGN – Scoring a goal on a corner kick when you are the one taking it is hard to do. Doing it from the right corner with your right foot is improbable if not impossible.

Illini forward Tara Hurless took the corner kick in the 75th minute and somehow bent the ball from left to right with her right foot to score the lone goal of Illinois'' 1-0 win against Wisconsin.

Q & A with Kelly Campbell

She''s one of the anchors of the undefeated soccer team''s vaunted defense. A junior from Gaithersburg, Md., Campbell was the Big Ten tournament''s defensive MVP last fall and helped establish school records for consecutive shutouts and consecutive scoreless minutes. She has started on defense for all but one match of her UI career.

Tate: Illini teams aren''t fishing for success

Took out my fishing pole once as a kid. Got bored. Never saw the point.

Went boating in high waves off the coast of Florida about 35 years ago. Spent the day face down. Turned green. Never again.

Tried soccer Tuesday. Been avoiding it ever since Walt Cresap kicked me in the shins in the third grade. Tuesday''s running clock drew my approval, but forgot to bring something to read. Might do it again if they''d remove the person blocking the net.

Illinois in perfect spot as Big Ten play approaches

CHAMPAIGN – Tara Hurless and her Illinois teammates don''t usually pay attention to the national polls. And their coach, Janet Rayfield, rarely talks about the rankings.

So it didn''t take long to figure out how important Tuesday''s rare midday match with Kansas was when Rayfield started running down the numbers.

Defense delivers for Illini soccer

Illinois'' soccer players hope their shutout habit is one they don''t break.

The Illini posted their third shutout of the season, defeating Wright State 2-0 on Friday at the Clash of the Conferences tournament in West Lafayette, Ind.

Hurless is more for Illini

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. – Two first-half goals, including a sensational score by senior Tara Hurless, gave the Illini women''s soccer team its first road victory of the season.

Hurless scored her first goal of the season on a header from the top of the box, and Leisha Alcia made fives saves as Illinois beat Southeast Missouri State 2-0 on Friday.

Illini get offensive in season-opening win against Tigers

URBANA – The Illinois women''s soccer team posted a school-record 16-4-2 mark last year on the back of a dominating defense, as the Illini allowed a mere 12 goals on the season.

If the team''s season opener against Missouri on Sunday was any indication, the offense is ready to share the load in 2004.