Illini Freshman and Champaign native Brittany Ward notched her first career point with an assist in UI's 1-0 victory over Evansville on Friday.
Sept. 12, 2003
Champaign, Ill. - The Fighting Illini dominated tonight's contest with Evansville in the Illinois invitational, outshooting the Purple Aces by a count of 31-0. However, the game remained scoreless until the 82nd minute when Illinois junior Tara Hurless scored to give the Illini a 1-0 victory over the guests.
"Our defensive intensity was excellent in the second half," said Illinois Head Coach Janet Rayfield. "To not allow a shot in 90 minutes, no matter who you're playing, is a great accomplishment. I'm pleased with our defense and with our attacking front as well. In the second half, we played some great soccer got some great opportunities."
The first half came and went with relatively little action, at least from a statistical standpoint. Illinois fired eight shots in the first 45 minutes, three of which were on goal, while holding the Purple Aces to none.
The second half, however, was a different story as the Illini came out fired up and very offensive minded. The Orange and Blue had chance after chance in the second half, but Evansville goalkeeper Liz Hains was outstanding, making several acrobatic saves to keep the game scoreless, and even getting some help from the posts on a few of occasions as well.
Hains' luck would run out in the 82nd minute, however, when Illini freshman Brittany Ward took a feed from Meghan Kolze, turned and fired a shot towards the upper right corner of the net. The shot went off the hand of the diving Hains, bounced off the right post and would carom back across the mouth of the goal where Hurless was waiting to fire the ball into the back of the net form point-blank range.
"I have been hesitating a lot around the box and I finally got a chance to shoot it," said Ward, a graduate of Champaign Centennial High School. "Luckily I got a good foot on it. Their keeper made a great save, but Tara was there to finish the job."
The goal was Hurless' third the season. Ward and Kolze were credited with assists. It was Ward's first career assist, and Kolze's first of the season.
Illinois goalkeeper Leisha Alcia didn't have to make a save to earn her first shutout of the season. UE keeper Liz Hains had 11 saves on the evening. With the victory, Illinois moves to 3-2-0 on the season, while Evansville drops to 0-3-1.
Up Next: The Illini will face in-state rival Illinois State (2-1-1), who lost to Purdue in tonight's first match, 4-0, on Sunday at 3 p.m. It will follow the Purdue-Evansville game slated for noon.