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.

Hurless gives Illini first shot at title

   WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind.  Her Illinois teammates call her Junior, and even 5-foot-5 Tara Schuling calls 5-foot-4 Tara Hurless little Tara.

   But after two rounds of the Big Ten women''s soccer tournament, no player has stood taller than Hurless. Of course, the freshman still was hard to see during the postgame pileup after scoring with 19 seconds left in overtime to beat Michigan 2-1 in the semifinals.

UI looks to senior scorer for postseason experience

   CHAMPAIGN  When they played club soccer and won all those state cups, Colleen Joyce and Sarah Rowland talked about playing on the same college team.

   Joyce and Rowland, who have played together for about 10 years, both took recruiting trips to Utah. But the players ended up going their separate ways.

Illini goalie takes honor

   For the second time this season, Illinois freshman Leisha Alcia has earned Big Ten women''s soccer defensive player of the week honors. Alcia stopped five shots in the UI''s 4-1 win against Iowa before registering her third shutout in Sunday''s 1-0 win against Illinois State.

   The win against Iowa secured the Illini''s best Big Ten finish (6-3-1).

UI freshman goalie making a soccer impact

CHAMPAIGN - The weather hasn't been much of a problem. And adjusting to college life has been a breeze, although practicing across the street from South Farms has been different.

Not much has fazed Leisha Alcia since coming to Illinois from Mississauga, Ontario - a suburb of Toronto - to begin her college soccer career.

Illini soccer tops Spartans

It was the perfect way for Illinois to finish a weekend and start the Big Ten soccer season.

The surging Illini used goals from freshman Tara Hurless and Tara Schuling, and the defense allowed just one shot on goal in the 2-0 victory against Michigan State on Sunday in Champaign.