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

Illini soccer endures scoreless draw against Wildcats

Eric Chiang
Senior goalkeeper Julia Cili securely holds the ball in a duel against Michigan on Sept. 24.

There weren’t any goals to be had on Thursday night as Illini soccer traveled north to play the Northwestern Wildcats. Illinois earned the road point in Evanston, bringing its conference record to 1-1-2.

The match was a defensive battle across both halves, though the visiting Illini nearly broke the deadlock early in the ninth minute. Following some link-up play in the middle of the pitch, senior forward Makala Woods did well to hold the ball high up the pitch, unleashing a well-weighted through ball to graduate student defender Bel Rolley, who fired off the shot only to see the attempt soar wide of the net.

The Wildcats then turned the tables on the Illini by pulling off an identical play on the other end of the pitch. Senior goalkeeper Julia Cili was called into action in the 24th minute after Northwestern split Illinois’ defense with a cutting pass. Cili, who has come up clutch in one-on-one situations multiple times this season, rushed out to make the save and got a foot on the ball.

On the brink of halftime, the Illini created another chance off of a set piece, with freshman defender Mya Archibald having her header stopped on the line by the Wildcats’ keeper.

Coming out of the break, Northwestern threatened to take the lead in the 48th minute before Cili made her second one-on-one save of the night. The Wildcats were first to the deflection before junior defender Ella Karolak stepped up to block what would have been a sure-fire goal for the home side.

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    Cili completed her hat trick of one-on-one saves in the 60th minute after Northwestern managed to get the ball into wide-open space on the left wing. Arguably the senior’s most impressive stop of the evening, Cili proved to be crucial once again in earning a result for the Illini.

    The match concluded without a goal as the combination of missed chances and strong defending resulted in a somewhat anticlimactic draw between the two in-state rivals. Final score: Illinois 0, Northwestern 0.

    Earning a point from Evanston is far from a bad result for the Illini, though the squad will be hoping for more out of its trip to Columbus up next. Illinois will be back in action at 11 a.m. CT on Sunday for a clash with Ohio State searching for its second conference victory and sixth overall win this season.



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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!