The Illinois women''s soccer team is ranked 19th in latest NSCAA/adidas Top 25 poll, which was announced Tuesday.
CHAMPAIGN – Illinois soccer coach Janet Rayfield was all smiles and Illini forward Tara Hurless was all confused after the NCAA tournament pairings were announced Monday.
The Illini travel to College Station, Texas, a site hosted by ninth-seeded Texas A&M, where they play Rice on Fri-day.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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'' 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.