Illinois soccer prepares to take on Missouri in third straight home outing


Sydney Laput

Freshman middle blocker Sarah Foley (18) attempts to pass the ball to junior midfielder Kennedy Berschel (32) during the second half against Indiana State on Sunday. The Illini will be go up against Missouri on Thursday at Demirjian Park.

By James Kim, Assistant Sports Editor

Illinois soccer will be looking to keep up the momentum as it welcomes Missouri to Demirjian Park on Thursday. The Illini ended their losing streak on Sunday against the Sycamores of Indiana State and will be aiming to build up a winning streak against the Tigers.

“Talented team,” head coach Janet Rayfield said last Sunday. “Certainly, I think (Missouri) is much improved over last year. They’ve continued to build, they built through last fall and they got a good win today.”

The Tigers are currently 3-2-1 on the season and will provide the Illini with a challenge. While Missouri’s defeats have come at the hands of No. 1 North Carolina (3-1 loss) and Ohio State (2-1 loss), it has drawn 1-1 with Omaha and taken down Semo 1-0, Southern Illinois 3-1 and most recently Kansas 2-1.

In the head-to-head matchup between the two schools, it is Illinois who is behind, defeating Missouri four times, drawing twice but losing a total of six times historically. In their last meeting in August of 2021 however, the Illini pulled off a dominant 4-0 victory away in Columbia, Mo. They’ll be looking for a similar performance on Thursday night.

Morale amongst the Illinois squad is likely quite high after a hard-fought win on Sunday over Indiana State. Despite hostile weather that brought a weather delay, the Illini endured the rough field conditions and triumphed over a persistent Sycamore side. With no rain currently in the forecast for Thursday night, the Illini will likely be looking forward to much smoother field conditions and a return to their familiar possession-based style of play.

A rising young star in the Illini squad has been freshman forward Sarah Foley, who struck again on Sunday, scoring her second goal in four matches this season. Foley has been an offensive threat for Illinois alongside junior forward Julia Eichenbaum and redshirt junior forward Ashley Prell. Foley will be looking to keep up her strong start to life as an Illini with another strong performance against the Tigers.

Illinois (4-2-0) will host Missouri (3-2-1) in search of its fifth victory of the 2022 season. The match kicks off at 7 p.m. at Demirjian Park. The Illini will need to be on their game to take down a talented Tigers side.

“I think a team is coming here that’s on the rise,” Rayfield said. “And they’re a team we’ll have to be ready for.”



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