Sophomore Vanessa DiBernardo added two more goals against Toledo, inclding the game-winning tally, bringing her season total to four.
Aug. 21, 2011
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. -The University of Illinois Fighting Illini soccer team won its second contest of the season, downing the Toledo Rockets, 5-1, at Illinois Soccer and Track Stadium on Sunday afternoon. Sophomore Vanessa DiBernardo continued to lead the Illini offense, recording four points on two goals, including the game-winner. Senior Julie Ewing notched her second tally in as many games for the Orange and Blue, while senior Marissa Mykines added her second mark of the season and sophomore Allie Osoba scored her first collegiate goal to round out the Illini's tallies.
"We know what we do well, so we tried to do it on Friday night, and we tried to do it even better today," Illinois head coach Janet Rayfield said. "When they go down a player, that changes the game a little bit. There were some things that we changed in the flow of the game [from Friday], but we know what we do well, so we're going to try to come out every Friday and Sunday for the rest of the season and do those things. We just hope from this weekend to next weekend, we get better at them."
Illinois competed for the majority of the contest up one player after Toledo's starting goalkeeper, Vicki Traven, was issued a red card for diving at the feet of Mykines while the Spokane, Wash., native was on a breakaway in the 12th minute. Sophomore Ashley Ross, listed as a midfielder for the Rockets, took over at goalie for the remainder of the contest.
The Illini's first mark of the game came in the 13th minute of the first half, directly following the red card. Ewing recovered a deflection by Ross and placed the ball into the back of the net to break the scoreless tie. Ewing's converted attempt marks her second goal of the season, breaking her career record for goals in a single season as Ewing's only previous tally came during her sophomore year in 2009.
Illinois continued the offensive attack during the first half, holding a one-goal lead until the 34th minute of play, when Toledo's Nicole Gyurgyik headed a ball over Fighting Illini goalkeeper Steph Panozzo, tying the game at 1-1. However, Illinois responded quickly, with DiBernardo placing a free kick from outside the goalie box into the middle-right section of the net to once again secure a one-goal lead for the Illini. The Orange and Blue attack dominated the first half, earning a 16-3 advantage in shots, also tallying seven corner kicks while holding the Rockets without one.
The Illini did not let up the offensive attack in the second half, notching three more goals to reach the final score, 5-1. At the 70:05 mark, Mykines stole a loose ball from Ross as the Toledo goalie dribbled in the box. Mykines then used her speed to navigate around Ross as the substitute goalie dove to recover the ball and placed a low shot into the center of the wide-open net.
"It's exciting to see [scoring] coming from all over the place," Ewing said. "I don't know what scouting reports would look like or who they would say things about because we come out of nowhere in all different places on the field. You never really know where we are going to attack from, and it's to our advantage to use the length and the width of the field."
DiBernardo added to the Illinois lead with her second goal of the contest and fourth on the season with 11 minutes remaining. Junior Nicole Denenberg recorded the assist on the tally, heading a loose ball to DiBernardo, who then settled the pass and placed a looping shot over Ross' head.
"The toughest thing about having a great freshman year is to turn around and continue that," Rayfield said. "For Vanessa [DiBernardo] to get four goals is just going to make her life more difficult and I think the challenge for her is to want people to focus on her. The good thing is that the scoring is getting spread around enough that if you focus on her, we will punish you in other ways. That's going to help her have a sophomore year that's more similar to her freshman year than some freshman are able to repeat. We have so much movement around her I think it will make repeating the previous season a little easier."
Osoba capped scoring on the contest with two minutes remaining, as the first-year player positioned herself at the top of the box, recovered a clearing attempt from the Toledo defense and blasted a shot into the right side of the net for her first collegiate goal.
Illinois again controlled the tempo of the contest throughout much of the day, earning a 25-6 shots advantage while tallying 12 corner kicks. Illinois did not allow Toledo to take a corner attempt as the defense limited the Rockets' scoring chances and held Toledo to one shot on goal. Ross and Traven combined to secure eight saves in net for Toledo, with Ross tallying seven.
Up next, the Fighting Illini travel to Muncie, Ind., to face the Ball State Cardinals on Friday, Aug. 26, at 3 p.m. CT before heading to Kentucky to take on the Louisville Cardinals on Sunday, Aug. 28 at noon.