Illinois soccer prepares for No. 17 Butler in first road match

Defensive+senior+Aleah+Treiterer+takes+the+ball+away+from+Illinois+State+player+during+the+game+on+Aug.+18.+The+Illini+will+be+on+the+road+to+go+up+against+Butler+on+Thursday.+

Angel Saldivar

Defensive senior Aleah Treiterer takes the ball away from Illinois State player during the game on Aug. 18. The Illini will be on the road to go up against Butler on Thursday.

By James Kim, Assistant Sports Editor

Illinois soccer will be heading to Indianapolis for an away clash versus No. 17 Butler on Thursday, following an undefeated opening week to the season. Illinois took down both Illinois State and Toledo at Demirjian Park last week.

“We’re really trying to get better every day,” head coach Janet Rayfield said. “We’ve gotta continue to get better in terms of connecting in the midfield and defending in the midfield. We’re kind of on the same journey we were on last week. We’re gonna do what we need to do to recover from this game, get after it on Tuesday and try to get better, that’s what we’re trying to do.”

In the last outing, the Illini dominated the Rockets 4-1 at home for senior day. The program celebrated seven players in midfielder Eileen Murphy, assistant director of soccer operations and former forward Peyton Willie, forward Ashley Prell, defender Aleah Treiterer, defender Kendra Pasquale, midfielder Lilian Lucas and forward Summer Garrison.

During both the Toledo game and the Illinois State season opener, Illinois retained the majority of the possession and had plenty of opportunities to score. The Illini were able to take greater advantage of their chances in the match against the Rockets and have overall displayed a strong attack thus far.

Illinois had 16 shots with nine being on target against Toledo, all while enjoying 56% of the possession. Rayfield felt the team “did some great things in front of the goal” last Sunday and it was certainly reflected in the final score.

While the Illini are hoping and expecting to continue the strong attacking play and overall consistent performances, going on the road is a very different experience from playing in front of supporters. Also they’ll be up against a ranked opponent, making Thursday a possible indicator to see just how much Illinois has improved off of last season. The No. 17 Bulldogs should, on paper, give the Illini a much tougher time than either the Redbirds or the Rockets did.

Illinois (2-0) will take on No. 17 Butler on Thursday in Indianapolis for its first big test of the official season. After the clash with the ranked Bulldogs, the Illini will travel to South Bend for a showdown with Notre Dame on Sunday. It will be a full week of traveling for Illinois.

“There will be new challenges when you go on the road,” Rayfield said. “The first road trip and what that means, what that looks like and what that rhythm is like is something we’re certainly going to attack with the mindset of making sure we understand what it’s like to play on the road and how we manage that.”

 

@james_kim15

[email protected]