Illini Insider

A weekly review and preview of Illini sports:

Hilbrands steps up after Masar injury

CHAMPAIGN – Jordan Hilbrands had some big shoes to fill Sunday in Illinois' exhibition finale against Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Consider those shoes splitting at the seams.

The freshman out of Bexley, Ohio, entered the match as a substitute for 2006 Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year Ella Masar after Masar sustained an injury, and found the back of the net in the 19th minute to help the 20th-ranked Illini to a 1-0 victory.

'Madness' begins basketball season

CHAMPAIGN – Illinois Madness, the Illini basketball team's first practice of the season, will be at 9 p.m. Oct. 12.

This year's event, which will serve as a fundraiser for Coaches vs. Cancer, features the first men's basketball scrimmage, a shooting contest involving the men's and women's teams and a dunk contest.

She's learning from the best

CHAMPAIGN – When Leisha Alcia joined the Illinois women's soccer staff in February, there never was a doubt the former Illini great would be assigned to coach the goalkeepers.

Look through the team's media guide and you'll see Alcia's name atop virtually every goalkeeping school rec-ord.

Illini tabbed for second

PARK RIDGE – The Illinois women's soccer team is picked to finish second in the Big Ten race in voting by conference coaches, the league announced Friday.

The Illini finished second in the Big Ten last season at 8-2 en route to a 16-8 overall record. Illinois returns nine starters from the team that reached the third round of the 2006 NCAA tournament.

Illinois receives recognition

Coach Janet Rayfield's Illinois soccer team earned Top 20 rankings in two national polls released Tuesday.

Supercomputer at UI looks like lock

A more than $200 million supercomputer capable of breaking the "petascale" barrier – 1,000 trillion calculations per second – now appears almost certain to land at the University of Illinois.

The National Science Foundation Board on Wednesday recommended that the system be built at the UI under the direction of the National Center for Supercomputing Applications. A release from the science foundation put the price tag at $208 million over the next five years. The system would go on line in 2011.

Illini golf coach Small wins Illinois Open

GLENVIEW – Illinois golf coach Mike Small won the Illinois Open golf championship for the third straight year Wednesday – and he wasn't even at the Glen Club's course when it became official.

Small finished his round of 6-under-par 66 for a total of 8-under 136 more than three hours before play concluded. A thunderstorm delayed the final four groups, and Small left for O'Hare International Airport before the tournament ended to catch a flight to Tulsa, Okla., where he begins play today in the PGA Championship.

Having a ball

Having a ball

Illinois senior Ella Masar, an Urbana product, is competing with the United States' Under-21 Women's National Team at the Nordic Cup tournament in Finland. For the next week, she will write a diary about her trip:

Book's release draws thousands to area stores

On the eve of "Hallows," witches, wizards and Muggles alike roamed the aisles of bookstores in Champaign and Savoy by the thousands, eagerly awaiting the final chapter in the Harry Potter series.

At 12:01 a.m. today, "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows," was officially released, the boxes finally opened, and the wait finally over, a decade after J.K. Rowling's magically popular series began.