Midfielders positioned well for success

CHAMPAIGN — Illinois controlled possession Sunday in its 3-0 win against Purdue, limiting the Boilermakers’ chances and ultimately providing the opportunities Jannelle Flaws turned into her late hat trick.

Rocky road: Thoughts on Illinois' Big Ten woes

In its last 22 Big Ten games, Illinois has lost 21 times. What has caused the Illini to plummet so far? Here’s what three national experts had to say, courtesy staff writer Matt Daniels:

Chuck Long, BTN

Volleyball team welcomes new league members

CHAMPAIGN — Illinois finished the nonconference portion of its schedule 8-3, with three tournament titles, a win against then-No. 20 North Carolina — the Tar Heels have since moved to 12th in the nation — and a near upset against now-top-ranked Stanford.

Former STM coach dishes on departure

LAWRENCEVILLE — Chris Mennig is back in the business of coaching basketball.

Less than six months after he was dismissed as head coach of the state champion St. Thomas More girls’ basketball program, Mennig was hired by the Lawrenceville Board of Education on Wednesday to fill an assistant’s position on the staff of first-year girls’ basketball coach Chelsea Buher.

Westerkamps have mixed emotions

Jordan Westerkamp admits it. Without much prompting. Saturday is not just another game.

The star Nebraska receiver will see plenty of familiar faces in Lincoln. Coaches who recruited him. Players he went against in high school.

Reinhart's winding road leading to big win

TUSCOLA — The way Rick Reinhart saw it, he had two choices.

“When I was a junior in high school, I thought I would coach football or farm,” Reinhart said.

It didn’t take long before he realized there was really only one option.

“We didn’t have enough farmland (about 300 acres), so that left coaching,” said Reinhart, who has one brother and one sister.

Thursday's prep highlights: Mumm nets four in win

In volleyball

Centennial 2, Peoria Central 0. Kelly Braghini had seven kills, and Alivia Dew and Devin Kyler each had five kills to lead the Chargers (13-5) past Peoria Central 25-13, 25-6.

Will Illini end downward spiral?

A little less than three years ago, Illinois stood atop the Big Ten. Coming off an easy 41-20 win
Oct. 8, 2011, at Indiana, the Illini stood 6-0 and 2-0 in the now-defunct Leaders Division.
Ranked in the Top 25 and a bowl game already locked up, the Illini were living the good life.
Since that day in Bloomington, though, the ride has hit more than a few bumps.

HS Volleyball: Blue Ridge vs. Tri-Valley

Blue Ridge vs. Tri-Vally in a prep match at Farmer City on Thursday, September 25, 2014.

Juco recruit stays close to home

COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa — Andrew Davis considers the Midwest home.

So when the Iowa Western Community College tight end chose Illinois ahead of an offer from Texas, it may have raised a few eyebrows.

Iowa Western coach Scott Strohmeier didn’t blink.