Memorable Big Ten Tournament Run Highlights 2012
Vanessa picks up her 2nd straight NSCAA All-American Honor
Illinois finishes season 10-9-4
Rayfield returns to alma mater for Tournament showdown
Steph Panozzo's two PK saves send Illini to Chapel Hill
Former Illinois All-American Leisha Alcia is in her fifth season as an assistant coach for the Illini, serving as the goalkeeper coach for her alma mater. Alcia's main duties include mentoring Illinois' trio of goalkeepers, including junior Steph Panozzo, sophomore Lauren Parkin and freshman Lizzi Sanscrainte. During the most recent season, Alcia's guidance led Panozzo, a first-year starter, to record a 0.97 goals-against average and eight shutouts to go with 17 total victories, the most in any single season in school history, and the Big Ten Tournament Defensive MVP honor. Alcia is also responsible for various aspects of the program's recruiting and scouting efforts as well as various administrative and technical duties.
Alcia held nearly every goalkeeping record in Illinois history until the 2007 season when she coached her protege, Lindsey Carstens, to break her records for career shutouts and goals against average. Alcia still holds the top marks in single-season and consecutive shutouts, single-season and career saves and single-season goals-against average and save percentage. She anchored the Illini defense in 2003 and 2004, leading the squad to an Elite Eight berth during her final season. In addition, Alcia was the first Illinois player named a first-team All-American, earning the honor from the National Soccer Coaches Association of America, Soccer Buzz and CSTV following the 2003 season.
After spending a year as a volunteer assistant at Illinois, Alcia moved to Western Kentucky University as an assistant coach, where she worked primarily with the goalkeepers, recruiting, video analysis and camp coordination. She helped the Lady Toppers to an 11-8 record, 7-4 in the Sun Belt Conference, with seven shutouts.
Prior to the 2006 college season, Alcia was named to the Canadian Women's National Team and earned her first international cap in Canada's 4-2 win over Brazil in the Peace Queen Cup on Nov. 1.
Alcia has served on the coaching staff for the U.S. Youth Soccer Region II Olympic Development Program since her arrival as an assistant at Illinois and is accredited with the NSCAA National Coaching License.
"Aside from her ability to train goalkeepers and maximize their potential, Leisha also brings a sense of tradition and loyalty to this program that is intangible and invaluable," Illinois head coach Janet Rayfield said of Alcia. "As a former All-American, she understands exactly what this program stands for, what has been important in the past, what will continue to be important in the future and what is critical to our present success. She continues to help move this program forward through recruiting and expanding her coaching role beyond the goal box and the goalkeepers."