Illini Blank Louisville for First Win of Season, 2-0
Aug. 24, 2014
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Illinois (1-1-0) bounced back for its first win of the season with a 2-0 shutout of Louisville (1-1-0) on a steamy Sunday at the Illinois Soccer Stadium. Freshman Abby Elinsky connected for a goal off a corner kick late in the first half, while senior Jannelle Flaws scored for the first time this year early in the second half. Sophomore goalkeepers Michelle Denley and Claire Wheatley each played a clean half in front of the net.
"Our defensive pressure was in our attacking half as opposed to sitting back and letting them come at us," head coach Janet Rayfield said. "We were much better than on Friday and our second goal was really created off of defensive pressure in our attacking half. Win the ball, transition and go to goal. That's really what we didn't do on Friday that kept us on our heels. A defensive shutout against a good Louisville team, we have to take that as a positive in terms of where we are defensively."
Illinois only managed eight shots with four in each half, but thwarted Louisville's attack that attempted 13 shots. Elinsky, sophomore Hope D'Addario and juniors Amy Feher and Aliina Weykamp played all 90 minutes with a strong defensive performance on the back line. Denley made four saves in the opening frame followed by a pair of saves by Wheatley in the second half for a total of six.
"Both goalkeepers are capable," Rayfield said. "Michelle is really good coming off of her line. Claire's athleticism allows her to make some saves like she made in the second half. Over the next week or so, we need to decide who is the most consistent. They're both capable, but to be our goalkeeper you have to be capable and consistent. I think that's what we're looking for right now as we look at both of those to see who is going to be our true starter."
Each team had four corner kicks, but the Illini delivered a goal off their third one in the first half. D'Addario served one into the box, where Louisville was unable to effectively clear it. Elinsky came up with the ball and fired it past the keeper into the right side for a 1-0 advantage in the 41st minute. The Rocky River, Ohio, native has scored a goal on a corner kick in each of the first two games of her collegiate career.
Less than two minutes into the second half, the Orange and Blue took a 2-0 lead off the left foot of Flaws. Freshman Kara Marbury and junior Nicole Breece each had an assist on the play, as Marbury gathered the ball near the top of the box and found Breece on the left side, where she crossed it to the center of the box. Flaws flicked in her first goal in the 47th minute.
"We converted on a restart just like we did on Friday night, but what allowed us to be better offensively was that we were able to get the ball higher up field as opposed to having to get from the top our box into their goalmouth," Rayfield said. "Because our defense was better, our offense could start higher up the field and that meant that we were closer to the goal and able to create more opportunities."
Flaws took half of Illinois' shots with a game-high four, while Elinsky tallied two and Breece and sophomore Allison Stucky each had one.
Up Next: Illinois will be back in action with a home and away game next weekend. The Illini will host Arizona State on Friday (Aug. 29) at 7 p.m. followed by their first road contest at Oakland on Sunday (Aug. 31) at noon.