The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

Illinois soccer continues rolling with road upset over No. 17 Xavier

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The Daily Illini Photo File
The Illini rush to the field to face off against Minnesota on Oct. 23, 2022. On Thursday the Illini had a tight game against Xavier which ended in a 1-0 victory for the Illini.

As Illinois soccer traveled to Cincinnati following a home triumph over Loyola, it faced a tough task matching up against No. 17 Xavier on unfamiliar soil. However, the change in scenery did not affect the Illini, who battled out a tight, memorable victory over their nonconference opponents.

Illinois has started strong, now finding itself in possession of a two-game winning streak. The team opened the 2023 season with an exciting 3-2 victory over Loyola last week in Champaign. Graduate student forward Makena Silber returned from injury and opened the scoring, with junior forward Maeve Jones and freshman defender Mya Archibald also striking to help secure the season-opening win.

The momentum of getting the first victory under their belts drove the Illini on Thursday, as they entered Corcoran Field ready to compete.

The nationally ranked Musketeers started the match off strong, peppering senior goalkeeper Julia Cili with shots early in the contest. The Illini weren’t able to get much going offensively during large stretches of the first half. Luckily for the visitors, Cili was on her game at the other end of the pitch making key saves to keep the game scoreless.

However, Illinois received the boost it needed on the brink of halftime. As Xavier’s defenders continued passing the ball along its own backline, freshman sophomore Lia Howard managed to read the play and intercepted the ball at the top of the box. After a quick spin towards goal, the sophomore fired home her first collegiate goal in the 42nd minute. Illinois 1-0 Xavier heading into the break.

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    The Musketeers returned to the pitch hungry for an equalizer but were continually repelled by Cili and the Illini backline.

    The match saw close chances for both sides in the 60th minute, beginning with the Illini. A great ball played in by sophomore forward Sarah Foley found junior forward Sydney Stephens, who had her shot saved. Graduate student defender Bel Rolley was first to the rebound but had her attempt soar straight to Xavier’s keeper.

    The Musketeers nearly responded a minute later, but an acrobatic save by Cili kept the home side off the scoreboard. Illinois was able to lock down defensively, and prevent another Xavier shot during the final 20 minutes of the match. The final whistle blew for the Illini’s first clean sheet of the official 2023 season. Final score: Illinois 1, Xavier 0.

    Now with some wind in their sails, the Illini look to continue their five-game road trip with a visit to Ohio to take on the Dayton Flyers. The match kicks off at noon CT on Sunday, with Illinois searching for its third consecutive victory.

     

    @james_kim15

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    About the Contributor
    James Kim, Sports Editor
    My name is James Kim and I’m a senior studying English with a minor in business. This is my third year with The Daily Illini and it’s been an amazing ride so far. When I joined in fall 2021, I began as a staff writer for the sports section where I covered women’s tennis. In spring 2022, I became an assistant sports editor and started covering soccer and Illinois men’s basketball. From spring 2023 onwards I’ve been working as the sports editor! In addition to being an Illini and Real Madrid fanatic, I also love watching movies and TV shows. If you have any questions about writing for The DI, you can reach me at my email below. I-L-L!
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