Veteran backfield helps Illini to 2-0 start

CHAMPAIGN — Janet Rayfield has her deepest rosters in a decade. Both in terms of number of players — the 30 Illinois soccer players are more than in any of the past nine seasons — and in an experienced group with 18 upperclassmen.

UI WSoccer vs Illinois State

University of Illinois Women's Soccer vs Illinois State, Sunday, August 21, 2016 at the Illinois Soccer Stadium. Illinois defeated the Redbirds 1-0. 

Soccer opens season healthy, with victory

CHAMPAIGN — Reagan Robishaw’s first tackle during Illinois’ opening preseason practice drew more of a reaction from one of her teammates than from the Illini midfielder herself.

“I didn’t even think twice about it until afterward,” Robishaw said. “(Taylore Peterson) was like, ‘How did it feel?’ And I’m like, ‘How did what feel?’ ”

UI Soccer vs. Morehead State 2016

Illinois vs. Morehead State in a soccer match at Illinois Soccer Stadium in Urbana  on Friday, August 19 , 2016.

UI Soccer: 2016 storylines

Veteran presence all around

UI Soccer: Big Ten ranking

Where they stand: Big Ten preseason poll
1. Penn State (22-3-2, 8-2-1 Big Ten in 2015)
Defending national champs have sat atop preseason poll every year since it began in 2003.

2. Rutgers (19-4-3, 7-2-2)
Leading scorer Colby Ciarrocca (nine goals) returns after leading Scarlet Knights to College Cup.

UI Soccer: Position breakdown

Friday’s probable starters: Kara Marbury, 5-10, Jr. (9 goals, 4 assists last season); Patricia George, 5-8, So. (0 goals, 0 assists)

Illini soccer plenty motivated heading into season

CHAMPAIGN — Illinois reached the NCAA tournament in 10 of Janet Rayfield’s first 12 seasons as coach. The past two seasons, however, are the first back-to-back the Illini — who open the season at 7 p.m. on Friday at home against Morehead State — have missed out on postseason play.

Top of the Morning, Aug. 17, 2016

In his 50 remarkable years at The News-Gazette, Loren Tate figures he’s written 13,000 columns. That’s a ton of “Tatelines.”

Top of the morning, Aug. 15, 2016

On Mondays, our award-winning photographers tell their stories. This week: Rick Danzl.

We often are assigned to shoot portraits of athletes that can be used with stories throughout a season. One of the challenges when shooting most groups is trying to come up with ideas to ensure we have a variety of poses for the dozens of subjects we photograph.