Illini Battle Back, Cut Down Sycamores, 3-2
Sept. 13, 2013
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Illinois earned its second come-from-behind victory thanks to three second-half goals on Friday night, topping Indiana State, 3-2. The Illini trailed 1-0 at halftime, but stepped up their play on both sides of the ball in the second half, putting up three goals on the newly unveiled scoreboard and holding Indiana State to just three shots. The Orange and Blue remained undefeated at home (3-0) and improved to 4-2-1 overall, while the Sycamores dropped to 2-4.
"We started to play better soccer in the second half," head coach Janet Rayfield said. "Indiana State really came out and put us under pressure and our team didn't really show up ready to play. When we settled down, moved the ball and just did the normal little things that you do when you're ready to play, it made a big difference. We've just got to do a better job of coming out ready to play."
Illinois started sluggish in the first half, falling behind 1-0 despite holding a 10-8 advantage in shots. ISU's Abby Read scored her first of two goals in the 23rd minute by beating the keeper right off a pass in the box and through the defense by Emily Chura.
After the break, the Illini scored a pair of goals in the first 15 minutes of the second half to take the lead, which they never relinquished. Junior Allie Osoba came through with the equalizer in the 56th minute off a corner kick by senior Vanessa DiBernardo that was touched to the center of the box by freshman Casey Conine for the assist. The Orland Park, Ill., native found the back of the net for her third goal of the season on her only shot of the night.
"Allie did a great job coming off the bench," Rayfield said. "We needed someone who could try to keep the ball for us. The foul in the box was from her holding the ball and making someone foul her to get the ball as opposed to giving it to them. She got the goal and helped us play better soccer, which ended up showing on the scoreboard."
Three minutes later, Illinois took a 2-1 lead on a penalty kick by DiBernardo, who beat the keeper right and notched her fourth goal of the year. Osoba drew the foul in the box, setting up DiBernardo's second PK goal this season.
In the 68th minute, redshirt-junior Jannelle Flaws flew into the box and scored on a leaping header off a left-sided cross by sophomore Reagan Robishaw. Flaws, who entered the weekend in the top five in the nation in goals, added to her Big Ten-leading total of eight.
The Sycamores got back within one in the 85th minute on the second goal by Read off the cross by Sydney Lovelace that went through the keeper's hands. Illinois controlled possession over the final five minutes to seal the 3-2 win, finishing with a 25-11 advantage in shots and 7-3 edge in corner kicks. DiBernardo (7) and Flaws (6) combined for over half of the Illini's shots, while freshman Meegan Johnston took four off the bench.
"At the end we sort of let them back in, so we really have to demand more of ourselves in terms of our intensity from start to finish," Rayfield said. "We need to look at our preparation and work on our consistency overall. This team has to hold themselves accountable to have a successful Big Ten season."
Up Next: Illinois will be back in action on Sunday, Sept. 15 at noon against Florida International at the Illinois Soccer Stadium. At every Sunday home game this year, a special Fan Zone will be set-up with special games for fans one hour prior to the match. Face painting, a juggling contest, penalty kick practice, a radar gun and Bumper Ballz will be available for fans. Along with the Fan Zone, the Illini will host Youth Soccer Day, where youth soccer players are encouraged to wear their jersey and participate in a free clinic after the game.