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."

Illinois goalie grabs honor

Four shutouts in a row has people other than the Illini''s opponents recognizing the play of goalkeeper Leisha Alcia.
Alcia, a junior from Mississauga,Ontario, Canada, shared BigTen defensive player of the week with Purdue goalie Lauren Mason after both keepers posted shutouts during the weekend.

Illini soccer loses in OT

   Illinois took No. 11 Auburn to overtime Sunday, but the unbeaten Tigers prevailed 2-1 in a nonconference women''s soccer match in Alabama.

   Reigning SEC player of the year Sarah Steinman scored both Auburn goals, including the game-winner seven minutes into overtime. Illinois fell to 2-2.

Kolze, Walker pace Illinois'' road victory

   ATHENS, Ga.  Illinois'' soccer team struggled on the road last season, but it enjoyed its first trip away from home this season.

   Meghan Kolze and Tiffani Walker each scored a goal in the Illini''s 2-1 victory Friday against Georgia in front of 3,312 fans.

Ridgeway, Hurless double their fun

   Juniors Andrea Ridgeway and Tara Hurless each scored two goals, leading Illinois to a 6-0 victory against Ohio at the Illini Cup on Sunday in Champaign.

Illini coach settling in for second season

CHAMPAIGN  Before Illinois athletic director Ron Guenther hired Janet Rayfield as his women''s soccer coach last summer, he had a long list of questions for the North Carolina graduate.

And one of them was a whopper.