Junior Marissa Mykines tallied two goals against Cincinnati to lead the Illini to their largest margin of victory during the spring season.
May 4, 2011
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - The University of Illinois Women's Soccer Team played a four-game spring schedule in addition to the annual 7-on-7 Illini Tournament, using each of its contests to implement different playing styles. The Orange and Blue tested their formations against a challenging group of opponents, including Kentucky, Cincinnati, Illinois State and 2010 NCAA Tournament Sweet Sixteen participant Marquette - a core of opponents that combined for 44 victories during the 2010 season.
"Our spring goals are always to provide every athlete with the chance to develop," Illinois head coach Janet Rayfield said. "This spring, we also worked to establish and solidify our defensive chemistry and leadership, as well as define our personality as a team. Our schedule included a variety of competition and a lot of games on the road to present a lot of different problems for our team to solve, especially on the defensive side. We also got to take a look at several different systems of play as we move into a fall season with a very versatile and very skillful team."
Illinois began the spring with the Illini Tournament held in the Irwin Indoor Facility on Feb. 26, coming away victorious, 4-2, over a squad comprised of former Illinois women's soccer athletes during the championship round. Northern Illinois, Louisville, Eastern Illinois and 2010 NCAA Tournament participant Dayton all competed in the 7-on-7 tournament, with each falling short of the Orange and Blue.
After dropping a contest at Kentucky, 2-0, on March 10, the Illini bounced back in grand fashion with a dominating victory over Cincinnati, 6-1, at Illinois Soccer Stadium on March 26. During the rout of the Bearcats, the Illini made use of multiple attacking formats and styles to control the pace and dominate play. Marissa Mykines netted two goals during the contest to pace the Illinois attack, while Janelle Flaws, Julie Ewing, Shayla Mutz and Jenna Carosio each contributed one goal to the offensive outburst.
"We used several formations this spring, looking to really utilize the attacking personalities that we have," Rayfield said. "In doing so, we created a team with a very feisty, high energy personality. That personality on both sides of the ball was exciting to watch and, if we can return in the fall with the fitness level it will take to sustain that personality for 90 minutes, we will be difficult to play against!"
After taking to the road to combat a talented and dangerous Marquette squad, ultimately falling by a one-goal margin, the Orange and Blue responded again with a victory, this time downing Illinois State, 3-1, on the road to cap the spring schedule. 2010 Big Ten Freshman of the Year Vanessa DiBernardo, Niki Read and walk-on Allison Osoba each scored once as the Illini soundly defeated the Redbirds.
Eight different Illinois players scored a goal during the four-game span, with DiBernardo and Mykines each tallying twice to lead the Orange and Blue. Flaws, Ewing, Mutz, Carosio, Read and Osoba finished with one goal each to highlight the diversity of attacking options the Illini will posses in 2011. In total, the Illini scored 10 goals over the four-game span, an average of 2.5 tallies per contest, a full goal per game more than the Illinois defense allowed.
"I feel that we made great strides this spring," Rayfield said. "Players such as Jenna Carosio took the time to work on transitioning from playing in the midfield to organizing our defense as a centerback and those playing around her adapted to those changes. We still have work to do in the fall but we made great steps in the right direction."