Illini Finish Non-Conference with Shutout over FIU, 4-0
Sept. 15, 2013
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Illinois' first shutout of the season was highlighted by a pair of goals from both sophomore Reagan Robishaw and senior Megan Pawloski in a 4-0 victory over Florida International on Sunday afternoon. The Illini outshot the Panthers 29-7 in a physical match that featured a 15-6 difference in fouls by FIU. UI moved to 4-0 at home and 5-2-1 overall following its final non-conference contest, while FIU dropped to 2-5.
"A shutout feels good," head coach Janet Rayfield said. "It's been a long time since we felt what it's like to have a clean sheet. We kept the ball a little bit better, got a lot of players in the game and I told them after the game, this has got to be the standard. We've got to be able to play that way on both sides for 90 minutes, especially when it's Big Ten conference play."
Illinois carried a 12-4 advantage in shots into halftime along with a 1-0 lead on the first career goal by Robishaw off the assist from freshman Meegan Johnston. The two underclassmen came off the bench to put the Illini on the board, as Johnston found Robishaw on the left side of the box, who put it away with a strike on the ground.
For the second match in a row, the Illini scored three goals in the second stanza and held their opponent to just three shots. UI owned a 17-3 edge in shots in the frame, which was started off by the second Robishaw goal four minutes into the period. The Painesville, Ohio, native, who found the net on both her shots in 38 minutes, recovered the rebound off redshirt-junior Jannelle Flaws' shot that hit the post and scored on an open net with the keeper stranded near the top of the box.
Pawloski, who led the Orange and Blue with seven shots, including five on frame, saw both her goals come off double assists in the second half. Senior Vanessa DiBernardo and Flaws combined for the set-up in the 56th minute that Pawloski fired into the middle of the net, while DiBernardo and sophomore Anastasia Medellin moved the ball into the box for Pawloski's second goal in the 77th minute.
"Friday night it was Allie Osoba, today it's Megan and Reagan," Rayfield said. "One of the things that we pride ourselves on is that anybody can score at any point in time. We had eleven different players with shots and seven players with shots on frame. If you can do that, you come out as a team that is really hard to defend."
Freshman goalkeeper Claire Wheatley earned her first career shutout while playing 83 minutes before senior Lauren Parkin entered the game for her first minutes of the season to close it out. Wheatley saved the only shot on goal early in the first half and combined with the strong defensive back line of seniors Kassidy Brown and Christina Farrell, sophomore Amy Feher and freshman Casey Conine to keep FIU scoreless.
Illinois increased its Big Ten-leading total to 28 goals, which equals its second-highest mark through eight games behind only the 29 goals scored in the first eight games of the 1998. UI also had 28 goals during its 2011 non-conference schedule. It also marked the Illini's first shutout since Nov. 2, 2012, when they downed No. 3 Penn State, 1-0, in the Big Ten Tournament.
"We're ready for Big Ten season," Rayfield said. "We've tested this team. We've played Notre Dame, traveled to Arizona, played in different time zones and different temperatures with delays. We've thrown just about everything that we could throw at this team. We've had the rollercoaster ride of what that means, so I feel like this team is prepared going into the Big Ten season. I feel much better going into this season being tested, then to be unsure of what might happen if someone tests us."
Up Next: Illinois will begin Big Ten play on the road at Ohio State with a 4 p.m. kickoff on Friday.