Stucky, Flaws Power Illini Past Arizona State, 3-1
Aug. 29, 2014
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Sophomore Allison Stucky gave the Illini an early lead and senior Jannelle Flaws put Illinois (2-1-0) back in front with two second-half goals in the 3-1 victory over Arizona State (1-1-1) on Friday night. The Orange and Blue back line kept the Sun Devils in check, while sophomore goalkeeper Claire Wheatley played the entire game and made four saves.
"That's a good win for us," head coach Janet Rayfield said. "That's a good Pac-12 team. It didn't feel like we started the second half the way we wanted to, they really came at us. Have to give credit to them, they came at us and threw their outside backs forward. Kind of took a high risk approach there and benefitted from it. But I really like the way our team responded. We gave up the goal to tie it, didn't fall apart, didn't panic and got the two goals back to seal the win. We're still getting better, but this was a good performance for us."
Stucky scored her first goal of the season and second of her career in the seventh minute. The Brecksville, Ohio, native controlled a pass from junior Reagan Robishaw near the top of the box and fired into the bottom right corner of the net past the ASU keeper.
"I really was pleased, especially in the first half, with some of our possession in our attack and the kind of opportunities we were generating," Rayfield said. "It was three, four and five passes and lots of players involved. (Nicole) Breece was getting in on the flank. Reagan Robishaw was extremely unselfish in the ball she played across to Allison to score that goal. I was ready for her to take her own shot, but I think she saw a lot of defenders between her and the goalie and played that off and Allison was able to tuck it in."
The Illini carried the 1-0 advantage into halftime, as both teams attempted four shots and a corner kick in the opening frame. Following the break, Arizona State applied pressure to begin the second half and earned the equalizer in the 52nd minute. Aly Moon connected on her fourth goal of the season to even the contest.
The game wasn't tied for long as Flaws scored just over three minutes later. Stucky dribbled up the right side and sailed a cross into the box, where Flaws sprinted to the near post and executed a header past the keeper.
"Jannelle is a marked woman and she's still finding ways to score goals," Rayfield said. "Great run on the near post, that's one of those that just takes a lot of heart and courage to get to the ball at that near post before everybody else does. You serve that ball with the expectation that a teammate is going to fight to get to the near post and Jannelle certainly met that expectation and the ball ended up in the back of the net as a result of that."
Just under three minutes later, Flaws found the net again when ASU failed to clear the ball out of the box. The Glenview, Illinois, native corralled the ball in the center of the box following the Sun Devils' miscue and zipped it past the keeper. Flaws, who led the nation with 23 goals in 23 games in 2013, has three goals through three games this year. She had two goals at this point last season.
ASU outshot the Illini 14-12 and had a 3-1 advantage in corner kicks, but Wheatley made all four of her saves in the second half and collected her first win of the year. The back line of juniors Amy Feher and Aliina Weykamp, sophomore Hope D'Addario and Abby Elinsky played all 90 minutes for the third game in a row.
"(Claire and Michelle) are still battling it out," Rayfield said. "You are going to see Claire's improvement from last year to this year and part of that is the battle that Michelle is providing. Every day in training Michelle is getting better and if those two keep battling, they both are really going to be great goalkeepers by the end of it. I'm just excited they're pushing each other and pushing each other in a really good way."
Through three games last season, Illinois had allowed 10 goals, while the Illini have limited opponents to just four goals after the first three games this year.
Up Next: Illinois will hit the road for its first game away from home. The Illini will travel to Rochester, Michigan, to take on Oakland on Sunday at noon.