Seniors Jennifer McGaffigan, Tiffany Eklov and Eva Choe were honored before Illinois'' women''s tennis match Sunday at Atkins Tennis Center.
In their final regular season home appearance, the trio did the honors themselves in a 7-0 whipping of Penn State.
CHAMPAIGN – They won''t take another snap for three-plus months. At least, not in front of the coaches.
Since mid-March, the Illinois football players have worked to improve on last year''s 1-11 season. Now, technically, they will get a break until reporting back in August.
CHAMPAIGN – As a group, there''s a way to go to reach the heralded foursome of Brandon Lloyd, Walter Young, Greg Lewis and Aaron Moorehead, all of whom were on NFL rosters last season.
In time, however, the Illinois football team is hoping Ade Adeyemo, Lonnie Hurst, Kendrick Jones and DaJuan Warren stack up favorably.
A break in the weather allowed top-ranked Illinois a chance to prep for the upcoming Big Ten men''s tennis tournament.
The Illini on Saturday beat Michigan State 6-1 in a match played outdoors. Those same courts – refurbished last summer – will be the site of the Big Ten tournament April 29-May 2.
CHAMPAIGN – Talk all you want about the defense. And the players who have moved from offense. And the coaching changes.
What the Illinois fans want to see more than anything else is a quarterback firing passes downfield to open receivers. They want to see a quarterback taking charge in the final minutes of close games and leading the team to comeback wins.
URBANA – Bar none, it was the worst day of Eva Choe''s tennis career.
While the Illinois women''s team was absorbing a 5-2 whipping at Michigan, Choe''s left knee was taking an even worse beating. After whacking an overhead winner during the second set, Choe landed awkwardly on her left leg. At that point, her match ended. So did her season, the victim of a torn anterior cruciate ligament.
URBANA – Sean Bubin remembers running around his parents'' restaurant in Rantoul as a 5-year-old. He would watch his father, Barry, cook and he was pretty good as an unofficial taster.
By the time he was in high school at Rantoul, his parents had opened Miko Restaurant in Urbana. As guests dined on sushi and steaks, Bubin scrubbed dishes.
CHAMPAIGN – Cindy Dallas figured the highlight of her Saturday would be volunteer work at the Champaign County Humane Society, walking dogs and playing with cats.
She thought wrong.
CHAMPAIGN – The quarterback returning from back surgery is getting the bulk of the attention. And that makes perfect sense. Jon Beutjer is a high-profile player whose comeback is considered vital for the Illinois football team.
Just like Beutjer, offensive guard Bryan Koch spent a tense few hours last season on a hospital operating table. And just like Beutjer, Koch''s injury had an impact on his life both in and out of football.