Soccer thrives, tennis and golf gear up
September 17, 2018
For the Illinois soccer, men’s golf and men’s tennis teams, the fall serves as a chance to shake the off-season rust. While the men’s tennis team starts up this coming weekend, the Illinois soccer and men’s golf teams are in full swing.
Illinois soccer kicked off their regular Big Ten season blanking Minnesota 2-0. Junior Arianna Veland netted both Illinois goals to lift the team to their first Big Ten victory. However, two days later the Illini suffered their first Big Ten loss against No. 22 Wisconsin in double overtime (1-0). The squad is now 6-3-0 on the season, and the program moves to 246-171-35 overall.
Head coach Janet Rayfield chalked the first match up against Minnesota as a “typical” one in Big Ten play, per Illini Athletics.
“Tonight was a typical Big Ten battle on the road,” Rayfield said. “We have been working on our restarts and that paid off tonight. We were able to get great service and good timing, and Arianna finished the job both times. But like we have done all season, we will get back to work, focus on cleaning up our passing, and get ready for the next challenge.”
Despite their victory Friday, during their Sunday matchup Illinois fell to Wisconsin in the 104th minute of the contest.
The Illini have also defeated two ranked opponents this season: No. 3 Duke and No. 14 Oklahoma State.
In addition to freshman Makena Silber being named Big Ten Freshman of the Week last week, two seniors and one junior were also named to the Big Ten Conference Preseason Honors List: seniors Katie Murray and Morgan Maroney and junior Alicia Barker.
The men’s golf team opened fall match play this week at the OFCC/Illini Invitational. The team played qualifying rounds last week in order to seed the match-play for the main event this weekend.
After two rounds, the Illini post a team score of 6-over-par and tied for sixth place as a team. Leading the Illini in a tie for seventh place is sophomore Brendan O’Reilly at 140, even after the first two rounds. Junior Giovanni Tadiotto trails O’Reilly in a tie for ninth place. He scored 141, 1-over, after two rounds.
Mike Small told Illini Athletics that while the Illini offense is in full swing, the defense at the Invitational has been lacking.
“Different day, same story,” Small said. “We played well most of the day, once again, but we didn’t close. We are playing a lot of good golf, evidenced by the fact that we are leading the field in total birdies. That shows that our offense is very good, but the reason we are in sixth place is because of our defense: our inability to save shots around the green and put the ball in the fairway consistently. We saw a solid round from Brendan today, and as a coach, I’m looking forward to seeing him build on that momentum.”
Three Illini freshmen are also playing the Invitational unattached. In a tie for 46th place, Tommy Kuhl marked a 147, or 7-over-par. Luke Armbrust finished day two with a score of 152, 2-over, while Adrien Dumont De Chassart sits at 74th place with a score of 159, 19-over.
The OFCC/Illini Invitational marks the first tournament the men’s golf program faces without senior Nick Hardy and Dylan Meyer, who graduated last spring. Olympia Fields is a par 70 course, and the field of competition includes: No. 1 Oklahoma State, No. 2 Alabama, No. 4 Texas A&M, No. T-11 California, No. T-11 Stanford, No. 14 Baylor, No. 20 Southern California, No. 23 UNLV, No. 25 Florida State, RV Purdue, RV South Carolina, Air Force and Indiana.
The men’s tennis team will open their abbreviated fall season at the ITA Milwaukee Classic this Sunday.
Illinois’ fall debut follows a successful summer, especially for alumni of the program. Former All-American No. 3 seed Aleks Vukic earned runner-up at the F19 Wichita Futures in Wichita, Kansas in early July.
Former Illini and 2017 U.S. Open Finalist, Kevin Anderson, bolstered his pro career with a trip to Wimbledon. After two weeks, Anderson was knocked by three-time Wimbledon champion Nadal Djokovic.