Illini drop to No. 18

A first-round loss in the NCAA tournament dropped the Illinois women''s soccer team nine spots in the final NSCAA/adidas national Top 25.

Illini end their best season with first-round NCAA loss

CHAMPAIGN – All season long, different heroes emerged for the Illinois women''s soccer team. Someone was always in the right place at the right time to save the day.

So down 1-0 at the half with their leading scorer on the bench injured Friday night, the ninth-ranked, 16th-seeded Illini never imagined they would lose to Western Michigan.

Kolze is Illini''s senior soccer staffer

CHAMPAIGN – In the middle of the Illinois soccer team''s media guide, there''s a section called "scrapbook." It''s a collection of photos mostly taken away from the field showing players bonding on the beach or posing in what you hope are Halloween costumes.

And Meghan Kolze is in every single picture.

Illini aren''t worried about potential third-round NCAA matchup

CHAMPAIGN – They knew they were in the field of 64, and they figured Champaign-Urbana would be a host site, so there wasn''t much drama for the Illinois soccer players who crammed into a conference room Monday afternoon at Ubben Basketball Complex to watch as the NCAA tournament pairings were announced on ESPNNews.

But it was still a special moment for coach Janet Rayfield, who will lead a team into the tournament for the first time. Illinois, which earned the 16th seed, will host Western Michigan at 7:30 p.m. Friday in a first-round game.

Big Ten soccer crown puts Illini in line to host first-round NCAA matches

MADISON, Wis. – After victories, the Illinois women''s soccer team likes to gather at midfield and chant "How do you feel? We feel good," a line from "Remember the Titans."

After their performance in the Big Ten tournament, the folks in Madison definitely will remember the Illini.

Title within UI''s reach

MADISON, Wis. – Illinois is headed to the NCAA tournament in soccer.

It''d like to go there as Big Ten champion.

Alcia has Illini headed in right direction

CHAMPAIGN – Leisha Alcia''s goalkeeping career began the same as most soccer netminders.

"I was probably 5-foot-2 at the age of 9, so you stick the big, goofy kid in net," Alcia said. "Also, I kind of wanted to play in net. I didn''t think I would stick with it."

Illini up to No. 11

One week after attaining its highest national ranking ever, the Illinois women''s soccer team did it again. Janet Rayfield''s Illini moved up one spot to No. 11 on Monday in the NSCAA/adidas Top 25.

Setback a reminder for Illinois

CHAMPAIGN – If they wanted to use this weekend''s series against No. 11 Ohio State and No. 14 Penn State as a measuring stick, then the Illinois women''s soccer team found it stacked up pretty well against the Big Ten''s elite.

The No. 25 Illini knocked off the Buckeyes on Friday, then played Penn State tight in a 2-0 loss Sunday in front of 821 fans at Illinois Soccer Stadium.

Pair of games will challenge UI soccer''s footing

CHAMPAIGN – They lead the Big Ten and recently jumped into the national rankings. But halfway through the Big Ten season, how good is the Illinois soccer team?

"We have the possibility to be one of the best teams in the history of the school," senior Tiffani Walker said. "We have a lot of potential, and we could go down as the best in my four years, anyway."