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MONDAY

• Weekly press conference with Nick Hill, 11 a.m. — The SIU football team doesn't play until Aug. 29, but the fourth-year head coach is beginning his weekly press conferences on Monday. Saluki women's soccer coach Grant Williams is also scheduled to appear. The first SIU soccer program in history opens up its inaugural season Friday night against Division II Illinois-Springfield. 

THURSDAY

• Saluki Fan Fest; Saluki Stadium, 6:30 p.m. to 8. SIU's annual fan fest returns Thursday night under the lights. Plans have not been announced, but the Salukis typically open up the stadium for fans to come meet the team, jump in inflatable bounce houses, dress up like players and Saluki Shakers, and participate in a couple of drills led by the players. 

FRIDAY

• Women's soccer hosts Division II Illinois-Springfield; Hartzog Track and Field Complex, 6:30 p.m. The first official match in the new program's history arrives Friday night. More than 2,100 fans came to Saturday night's home exhibition game against Southeast Missouri State. Tickets are $5 for adults, $3 for youth (kids age 2-17). SIU students get in free with valid ID. Fans are encouraged to tailgate.

Coach Grant Williams has 19 freshmen on his first roster, including four goalkeepers. The Salukis beat Tennessee Tech 2-1 on the road, lost 2-0 at Illinois-Chicago and fell 2-1 Saturday against SEMO. Two of their three goals came by penalty kick. The match begins a five-match homestand for SIU, which is competing as an independent in 2019. The Salukis are scheduled to compete as a full member of the Missouri Valley Conference in 2020. 

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Illinois-Springfield is led by fourth-year coach Erin Egolf, a former Prairie Star who set the school's all-time records for goals (26) and points (60). She was a three-time All-Great Lakes Valley Conference player and graduated in 2013. Egolf is the program's all-time winningest coach with a 19-28-7 mark.

The Stars went 3-11-3 last fall. They feature five seniors and 11 freshmen this season. Emma Williams, a senior defender, is from De Soto and competed at Carbondale High School.  

SATURDAY

• Guardian Credit Union FCS Kickoff; Youngstown State vs. Samford, 2 p.m., Montgomery, Alabama (ESPN). Saluki fans may not see the Penguins in person until Oct. 19, but they can get an early look at coach Bo Pelini's squad in the second FCS game of the season. Villanova plays at Colgate at 11 a.m. Saturday morning. Florida hosts Miami (Florida) at 6 p.m. Saturday night in the first FBS game of the season.

SUNDAY

• Women's soccer hosts North Alabama; Hartzog Track and Field Complex, 1 p.m. Tickets are $5 for adults and $3 for youth (2-17 years old). SIU students get in free with valid ID. Fans are encouraged to tailgate. 

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todd.hefferman@thesouthern.com

618-351-5087

On Twitter: @THefferman

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Sports reporter

Todd Hefferman has covered SIU athletics since 2008. A University of Iowa grad, he is a member of the U.S. Basketball Writers Association and a Heisman Trophy voter.

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