Forward Jannelle Flaws had a pair of game-tying goals, but the Illini fell 4-3 in double overtime at Arizona State.
Sep 7, 2013
TEMPE, Ariz. - Minutes before 11 p.m. PT on Friday night, the thrilling double overtime match between Illinois (3-2) and Arizona State (3-1) came to a 4-3 end on the Sun Devils' golden goal in the 107th minute. UI battled back from a pair of deficits thanks to a penalty kick goal by senior Vanessa DiBernardo and two equalizers by redshirt-junior Jannelle Flaws, but the Illini dropped their first double overtime decision of the season.
"It's been a long day," head coach Janet Rayfield said. "When the game started late, we said great champions adapt no matter what time of day it is. We certainly tried to do that, so I have to give our team credit for still fighting even when it was 1 a.m. back home. We found ways to score goals, but we just aren't doing a good enough job keeping them out of the net."
The contest started an hour and a half later than its scheduled 7 p.m. PT kickoff due to a weather delay and double overtime in the opening game of the Sun Devil Classic between Arizona and Kansas. Once the game commenced at 8:30 p.m. PT (10:30 p.m. CT), ASU struck first with the first of two goals by Devin Marshall on a header off a cross into the box from Holland Crook.
That proved to be the lone goal in the opening stanza, as the Sun Devils carried a 1-0 lead and 13-2 shot advantage into halftime at Sun Devil Soccer Stadium.
Less than a minute into the second half, Cali Farquharson put Arizona State ahead 2-0 on a shot into the upper-left corner from the top of the box. The Illini were held off the board for nearly 62 minutes before an ASU foul in the box led to a penalty kick goal by DiBernardo, as her second tally of the season made it 2-1.
Three minutes later, senior Megan Pawloski sent a perfect cross into the center of the box, where Flaws put it away for her first game-tying goal, making it 2-2. In the 71st minute, Marshall put the Sun Devils back ahead, 3-2, with a chip shot at the top of the box over the head of freshman goalkeeper Claire Wheatley.
Flaws responded with her second goal of the night and team-high seventh of the season to even it back up, 3-3, in the 80th minute. A throw-in by freshman Meegan Johnston and header pass by freshman Casey Conine set-up the reigning Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week for the equalizer again. Illinois scored its three second-half goals on just seven shots.
"To come from behind twice says something about the offensive pride of this team," Rayfield said. "We showed that we can battle back, but we need to have just as much defensive confidence and pride to be able to contend with the top teams. When we were able to get a hold of the ball, we were able to continue to be successful on offense, but we were physically out battled, so those opportunities were limited."
In the final minute, Arizona State hit the crossbar twice off a corner kick before the Illini cleared it out to send it into overtime. In the first extra period, Wheatley made a game-saving play in the 97th minute by getting a hand on a hot shot, popping it off the crossbar.
"Claire had a tremendous performance tonight," Rayfield said. "We called on her way too often, and she made some great saves. We just didn't do the job in front of her. The four goals was not a reflection on her performance. She is really maturing, but we just need a more consistent defensive presence."
With three and a half minutes remaining in the game, the Sun Devils snagged the win in the 107th minute on the second goal by Farquharson, who beat the keeper into the bottom-left corner. ASU outshot the Illini 33-10, while Wheatley held a 4-3 advantage on saves.
Up Next: Illinois will play its second and final game of the Sun Devil Classic on Sunday (Sept. 8) at 1 p.m. CT against Arizona.