Illini Fall 1-0 to #17 Wake Forest
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. - The Fighting Illini wrapped up the Wake Forest Invitational and the non-conference portion of their schedule with a tough 1-0 loss to Wake Forest at Spry Soccer Stadium. Illinois drops to 3-3-1 on the year as the Demon Deacons jump to 6-1-1.
The tale of the first half weighed slightly in Wake Forest's favor as it was mostly a midfield possession battle for the two squads. The Illini produced one scoring chance in the half when Marissa Holden's blast in the ninth minute soared over the crossbar.
The Demon Deacons recorded seven shots in the period, forcing Illini goalkeeper Steph Panozzo to make two saves. Furthermore, Wake Forest earned three corner kicks in the period. The Illini defense would hold as the game remained scoreless through half.
Wake Forest added more pressure in the opening 15 minutes of the second period. The Black and Gold recorded two shots from Riley Ridgik and shots from Jackie Logue and Jenai Davidson, yet only one was on goal as Panozzo picked up her third save of the contest.
Illinois countered after one of the opposition's shots, catching Wake Forest in transition. Illini Niki Read tallied a shot that soared high over the crossbar in the 58th minute.
The Demon Deacons would score their eventual game-winner in the 72nd minute. Wake Forest earned a corner kick taken by Jessica Mandarich. Her strike found Ally Berry's head in the Illini box, which then found the back of the net for the 1-0 lead. Mandarich obtained the assist as Berry procured her second goal of the season.
The Orange and Blue produced some goal scoring opportunities in the final four minutes of the match. Megan Pawloski's shot was blocked by a Wake Forest defender to earn a corner kick for the Illini. Next, Nicole Breece would find Kassidy Brown on the ensuing play, but Brown's shot would go wide right.
Illinois finished with four shots compared to Wake Forest's 14, as the Ilini could not register a shot on goal. In addition, Steph Panozzo accomplished three saves in the matchup. Finally, Wake Forest enjoyed a 7-1 corner kick advantage.
Shortly after the contest conceded, the Wake Forest Invitational All-Tournament Team was announced. Illini representatives include junior defender Christina Farrell and senior goalie Steph Panozzo. Farrell and Panozzo competed in all 180 minutes of both matches. The defensive duo allowed just two goals combined to the No. 11 and No. 17 teams in the nation, as Panozzo compiled four saves in the process.
The Orange and Blue return home next weekend to kick off Big Ten conference play when they host the Iowa Hawkeyes on Sunday, Sept. 16, at the Illinois Soccer and Track Stadium. The game will kickoff and air live on Big Ten Network at 2 p.m. CT. Also, head coach Janet Rayfield, along with junior midfielder Vanessa DiBernardo, will be returning to Champaign this week as well after capturing the U-20 World Cup Title in Japan with the U-20 U.S. Women's National Team.