Women's Soccer
Illini Drop Season Opener 4-1 to #10 Notre Dame

Freshman Casey Conine scored her first career goal in Illinois' season opener against Notre Dame.
Freshman Casey Conine scored her first career goal in Illinois' season opener against Notre Dame.

Aug 23, 2013

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SOUTH BEND, Ind. - In its season opener at Alumni Stadium, Illinois (0-1) stumbled on the road against No. 10 Notre Dame (1-0), falling 4-1 to the Fighting Irish on Friday night. ND netted three goals in the first half, and the Illini's lone goal by freshman Casey Conine in the 66th minute was matched less than a minute later, which proved to be the final score. The Orange and Blue dropped their opener for the first time since 2007.

"Like any game this early in the season, there was the good, the bad and the ugly," head coach Janet Rayfield said. "The good was that we were better in a lot of ways than we were in our preseason scrimmage against Virginia. The bad and the ugly were due to some inexperience that we have to move through quickly. It's tough when you don't have a lot of preseason scrimmages and you start against an opponent like this, but it is the best thing for our team because we will certainly learn from this and be better after today."

Notre Dame jumped on the board quickly, notching its first goal 4:22 into the contest. Karin Simonian fed a pass through the box that Lauren Bohaboy poked past freshman goalkeeper Claire Wheatley. A minute later, Wheatley bounced back with the first save of her career, while the Illini matched the Irish with three shots each over the next 15 minutes.

The Fighting Irish tallied their second goal in the 22nd minute when Anna Gilbertson launched a shot from 25 yards out that got past Wheatley, who was unable to knock it away. After another scoreless 15 minutes, ND took a 3-0 lead in the 37th minute off a rebound from a right-sided cross that was initially blocked by Wheatley.

After the intermission, Illinois struck first in the second half off a corner kick in the 66th minute, making it 3-1. Senior Vanessa DiBernardo sent a liner into the box that was headed to the ground by sophomore Amy Feher and kicked into the back of the net by Conine. The Leslie, Mich., native earned her first career goal, while Feher collected her third career assist.

Less than a minute later, Notre Dame responded with its fourth and final goal by Kaleigh Olmstead, who connected on a chip shot from 10 yards out on the left side of the box into the right corner. In the end, the Irish held a 25-13 advantage on shots, 13-7 on shots on goal and 6-1 on corner kicks. Wheatley made nine saves in her collegiate debut, while DiBernardo led the Illini with four shots.

Up Next: Illinois will be back in action on Sunday at noon CT against Louisville at Cardinal Park Soccer Stadium.