Women's Soccer
Illini Triumph Over Wisconsin-Milwaukee, 3-1

Nicole Denenberg collected her first goal of the season in today's 3-1 win over Wis.-Milwaukee
Nicole Denenberg collected her first goal of the season in today's 3-1 win over Wis.-Milwaukee

Sept. 3, 2012

Final Stats

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CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - After Hurricane Isaac rained out the Illini on Saturday, the Orange and Blue emerged victorious on a sunny Labor Day afternoon, 3-1, over the visiting Wisconsin-Milwaukee Panthers. Nicole Denenberg, Taylore Peterson and Marissa Holden all scored their first goals of the 2012 season, while Megan Pawloski and Nicole Breece picked up their first assists with Kristen Gierman collecting her second.

"Offensively we were really good today, we moved the ball, attacked Milwaukee in lots of different ways and scored three really great goals from three different players," said interim head coach Jeff Freeman. "Today was a huge step forward for us, both offensively and with some things we have talked about defensively." 

Illinois got on the board in the 20th minute thanks to great one-on-one dribbling from Denenberg. The senior possessed the ball near the goal line on the left side of the Panther's box. After splitting a couple of defenders, Denenberg launched the ball from about 12 yards out, giving Illinois the early 1-0 advantage while collecting her second career goal. 

The Illini would stay on the attack, applying constant pressure to the Panther defense and goalkeeper Jamie Forbes. With 15 minutes left in the first period, the Illini earned three corner kicks in a row, registering shots from Aliina Weykamp and Kassidy Brown. The Orange and Blue maintained their 1-0 lead to halftime with a 6-2 advantage in shots.

Illinois' quick strike offense was utilized again in the second half when Taylore Peterson netted her first collegiate goal just two minutes into the period. Megan Pawloski in-bounded the ball with a flip-throw followed by a well-placed header from senior captain Kristen Gierman, who advanced the ball to a waiting Peterson near the penalty marker. The freshman then blasted the ball to the right side of the goal.

The Illini offense continued to roll when Marissa Holden found the back of the net at the 60-minute mark. In the Panther's defensive third, Nicole Breece passed the ball from the left side of the field, finding Holden in the center of the pitch about 22 yards out. After her first touch, Holden curved the ball to the upper-90 of the left side of the goal to give the Illini their third and final goal of the game. 

The Panthers did get on the scoreboard in the 69th minute when Kelsey Holbert set up teammate Kelly Lewers after getting the Illini goalkeeper to commit to the right side of the box. Holbert then dished the ball to the center of the six yard box where Lewers finished the play.

Illinois bounced back nicely nearly netting their fourth goal of the match just four minutes later when freshman Amy Feher's shot hit the right post and Niki Read's shot forty seconds later was saved by Forbes. Illinois would control the bulk of the possession for the remainder of the game as they earned the 3-1 win and moved their overall record to 3-1-1 while Wisconsin-Milwaukee dropped to 1-3-1 on the year.

"I'm so proud of this team for buying into what we are trying to do and for working hard day in and day out," said Freeman. "It hasn't been easy but we certainly saw the benefits of that hard work today."

The Illini outshot the Panthers 15-6 and earned a 5-2 corner kick advantage. The Orange and Blue nearly placed half of their shots on goal, recording seven on the day. Illinois senior goalkeeper Steph Panozzo recorded three saves to bring her season total to 21.

Illinois achieved their first multi-goal game of the season as they remain unbeaten and untied at home (2-0). The Orange and Blue also remain undefeated when they are the first team to net a goal (3-0).

Next up, the Illini travel to Winston-Salem, N.C., to battle No. 13 Virginia Tech and No. 15 Wake Forest in the Wake Forest Invitational. The Illini first play the Hokies on Friday, Sept. 7, at 4 p.m. CT, then clash with the Demon Deacons on Sunday, Sept. 9, at 12 p.m. CT.  

"We need to build on our continued development this upcoming week, and we are really looking forward to the weekend ahead," said Freeman.