UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — The NCAA selection committee made its first run at its top 16 seeds for next week’s NCAA tournament and started to pencil in the rest of the field a couple hours before Illinois began its regular-season finale at No. 15 Penn State. Tweaks would be made, of course, as Saturday’s matches finished.
All-Area first team
ATHLETE POS. YR. SCHOOL
Max Berry M Sr. Judah Christian
Adam Cheek F Sr. Blue Ridge
Why he’s Coach of the Year: In his 31st year at the helm, Blackman won his 400th game and led the Tigers to a massive improvement. Urbana went 19-4-1 and was the best team in the area throughout its Big 12 Conference and Class 2A Champaign Central Regional championship season.
A look at the 12 local boys' soccer athletes to make our All-Area first team this season:
Sports editor Matt Daniels offers his grades for Illinois and Northwestern after the Wildcats' victory:
Sports editor MATT DANIELS weighs in on Saturday’s season-finale road defeat:
EVANSTON — Going into the season, Wes Lunt figured to move way up the Illinois quarterback charts. Injuries kept it from happening. But Saturday, he was his old self.
The senior from Rochester had his best game of the season, throwing for 377 yards and two touchdowns in a 42-21 loss to Northwestern.
EVANSTON — There is work to do. Lots and lots of work to do.
Lovie Smith knows it. And so do his players.
Illinois finished Smith’s baseline season with a sloppy 42-21 loss to Northwestern on Saturday at Ryan Field.
Not only did the Illini drop the final three games of the season to finish 3-9, they missed a chance to keep Northwestern out of a bowl.
EVANSTON — Among team games, football is the hardest to play when you’re losing.
Basketball failures don’t leave bruises. A net separates antagonists in tennis and volleyball. Golf and swimming are individual sports. In baseball, it’s essentially pitcher vs. batter.