"It's huge, actually," said sophomore Charlie Danielson, who lost the clinching match at the NCAA Tournament a year ago. "The whole team is prepared. We all worked hard over the summer, so we're ready for it. We know it's going to be an awesome tournament at an awesome venue."
Illinois returns four of their five starters from last year's national runner-up team, though junior Alex Burge won't travel with the team this weekend. Instead sophomore David Kim and senior Jonathan Hauter will make the trip. The three-day tournament kicks off Illinois' fall schedule.
"There's a reason why we play these events, and it's to build momentum and improve on issues with our game," head coach Mike Small said. "We want to improve on things within the team atmosphere as well so that next April, May and June we can be at our best."
Illinois tees off Friday morning in Olympia Fields, Ill. The tournament runs through Sunday.
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