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Fighting Illini Tidbits

The school year is underway, also signaling in the fall season for college athletics. Only a few days before the football team's season-opener against Missouri, there's a lot more action going on here on campus outside of Memorial Stadium.

Illini soccer defeats top-15 team, knocking on the door of Top 10 ranking

After defeating No. 15 Colorado and tying Denver over the weekend, the Fighting Illini women's soccer team found itself No. 11 in the NSCAA rankings.

Along with the high rankings comes high expectations for the season. It is no surprise that the Illini find themselves perched high on the rankings, and a tough non-conference schedule should bode well in preparing the Illini for a run for the Big Ten title and a possible national championship.

“I think now we have to live up to those expectations, and that can be both good and bad in the sense of how you respond and react to that,” Head Coach Janet Rayfield told the Daily Illini. “But for us, I think it’s a good sign, it shows that people expect good things from us this year, and we expect good things from ourselves.”

Next on the schedule is No. 9 UCLA, who comes to town on Friday.

No. 8 Illini volleyball gets ready New Mexico State Invitational

Also moving up in the polls are the Fighting Illini women's volleyball team, who are now at No. 8 in the nation. Coach Kevin Hambly's squad moved up from No. 10 in the polls after starting the season out with a 2-0 appearance at the Bluejay Invitational. Illinois defeated Texas Tech and Creighton in straight sets to win its fourth season-opening tournament in five years.

The Illini's No. 8 ranking is the highest since the team was No. 6 in 1993.

Illini men's cross country set to host annual Illini Challenge

Nine Illini runners are set to make their season debuts on Friday when the Illini hosts the annual Illini Challenge at the UI Arboretum in Urbana. The challenge will be comprised by Illinois, Danville Area Community College, Illinois CC Club, ISU, Robert Morris and Southern Illinois - Edwardsville

"Our fitness level is high after a strong summer training camp and I am excited to see what the team has to showcase at the meet," cross country coach Wendel McRaven said. "We are looking to use Friday's race to give a chance to those guys who have something to prove and are looking for an opportunity to travel down the road."