Senior goalkeeper Leisha Alcia's eight saves, but the No. 11 Illini still fell 1-0 against No. 25 Michigan Sunday.
Sept. 19, 2004
ANN ARBOR, Mich. - The seven-game winning streak came to an end for Fighting Illini soccer with a 1-0 defeat by Michigan this afternoon in Ann Arbor. The Wolverines (5-2-1) were able to hold on to an early goal in the first half to shutout the Illini (7-1) for the first time since their 2-0 loss to Western Michigan last season in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.
"While the loss hurts, there was definite improvement in the team's play from Friday," Head Coach Janet Rayfield said. "We created chances and played with heart, but Michigan's frontrunners were able to win those key balls that ended up being the difference-maker in today's game."
The Michigan goal came in the 13th minute of the first half by freshman forward Melissa Dobbyn off an assist by junior forward Therese Heaton. The goal marks the sixth scored by Dobbyn this season, who is second behind Heaton in the Wolverines season goals category.
The Wolverines improve to 7-3-1 against the Illini with the win. Last season, the Illini went 1-0-1 against Michigan with a 1-1 tie in the regular season and a 2-0 win in the Big Ten Tournament final. The Illini plan on taking this weekend's play as a learning experience in their ongoing effort to make constant improvements as a team game after game.
"There is so much that we can learn from this weekend," Rayfield said. "Whereas we just showed up on Friday against Michigan State, today we competed and battled. We just need time to train and to continue learning how we can execute better, anticipate better and just become a better team. It's a long season and we still have a long road ahead of us."
Goalkeeper Leisha Alcia made eight saves, allowing one goal and forward Tara Hurless led the Illini with two shots.
Up next: The Illini take a break from conference play for a mid-week match-up against the Redbirds of Illinois State in Bloomington, Ill. Thursday, September 23 at 4 p.m.