The Mike Small magic worked once again.
The Illinois golf coach gave unranked freshman Edoardo Lipparelli, the Illini's No. 5 golfer, a Herculian task, picking Lipparelli to face off against South Carolina's No. 1 golfer, Matthew NeSmith -- the No. 10 ranked collegiate player -- in Tuesday morning's NCAA Championships quarterfinal.
Once again, a Mike Small protege was up to the task.
Lipparelli defeated NeSmith 1-UP to help lead the Illini to its second-straight NCAA semifinals appearance and third in four years.
This afternoon, the Illini will play No. 6 seed and host Oregon, which defeated defending national champion LSU on Tuesday morning. NCAA individual champion Aaron Wise plays for the Ducks. The winner of today's semifinal will advance to Wednesday's championship match.
Senior Thomas Detry won his match 2&1 and sophomore Nick Hardy won his match 2&1 to clinch the win with Charlie Danielson still on the course with a 1-UP lead through 14.
The Illini are one match away from a second chance at the one trophy Small's program lacks: a national championship.
In previous match play performances, Illinois finished tied for 5th in 2011, runner up in 2013, tied for fifth in 2014 and tied for third in 2015.