Illini believe they have the right mix to make Big Ten waves

   CHAMPAIGN  There''s no better expert on Illinois soccer than Rebecca Johnson. She''s been around for five of the program''s six years, has gone through three head coaches and has seen the Illini go from the Big Ten basement to the conference championship game.

   She knows what she''s talking about.

Illini exhibit strength

Alaree Gunville scored on a cross from Hollie Schurr with 2:46 left in regulation, giving Illinois a 1-0 exhibition victory against Evansville on Saturday at Illini Field. The Illini outshot the Aces 21-2.

New UI soccer coach will impart own championship experience to Illini

   As the school''s first 30-goal scorer, Janet Rayfield was the first star in a long line of soccer talent for the storied North Carolina women''s program.

   She was a freshman when the program began in 1979, and the four-year captain helped take the Tar Heels to a national championship by her junior year. Rayfield helped start a dynasty that has accounted for 17 national titles, and she paid attention to the process.

Illini seeking soccer coach

   Illinois women''s soccer will begin its sixth season with its third head coach.

   Tricia Taliaferro, who led Illinois to a 38-24-3 record and two NCAA tournament appearances, has taken the head coaching job at Miami (Fla.).

Squad adds five players

UI soccer coach Tricia Taliaferro received national letters of intent from five players on Wednesday: defender Kelly Campbell, midfielder Paula Faherty, defender Christen Karniski, midfielder Natasha Karniski and forward Laura Redmond.

Joyce, Hurless honored

   UI senior midfielder Colleen Joyce and freshman forward Tara Hurless were selected to the Great Lakes Region''s second team by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America.

A painful ending

   When Illinois soccer coach Tricia Taliaferro talked about Friday''s first-round NCAA tournament match against Syracuse, she used the words

Holtzman, Illini zero in on goals

   CHAMPAIGN  Ask Heidi Holtzman about the first goal of her collegiate soccer career, and she can run down a pretty detailed play by play. It came from about 18 yards out after a misplay and was volleyed into the lower left corner.

   When you''re a four-year starter on defense, scoring chances are memorable. Given a chance to play up front in Illinois'' 6-0 win against Iowa State, Holtzman made it count.

Tourney run starts at home

   CHAMPAIGN  The Illinois women''s soccer team that took the field Sept. 7 is far different from the one that reached last weekend''s Big Ten tournament final.

   Since that 2-1 loss to Syracuse in the season''s third game, players have evolved and lineups have changed numerous times. That''s why the Illini are glad to have another shot at Syracuse when it counts most.

Despite loss, UI tourney-bound

   WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind.  The wait was shorter, but Sunday night was still an anxious time for Lindsay Johnson and her Illinois soccer teammates.

   A year ago, they had to wait two days after losing in overtime to Penn State in the Big Ten tournament to find out their NCAA tournament fate. After a 2-1 overtime loss Sunday to the Nittany Lions in the conference championship game, the Illini should get some answers when the pairings are announced at 2 p.m. today.