Illinois Earns 1-0 Victory over Ohio State
Sept. 21, 2012
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - After lightning delayed the game for an hour, the Fighting Illini women's soccer team battled the visiting Ohio State buckeyes in rainy slick conditions and emerged triumphant with a 1-0 victory. Taylore Peterson tallied the lone goal for the Orange and Blue with Nicole Breece and Kassidy Brown earning the assist.
The Illini pressured the Buckeyes as soon as the whistle blew for the ball was kept in Ohio State's half for the majority of the first twenty minutes. Niki Read, Vanessa DiBernardo and Nicole Denenberg all registered shots in the first six minutes.
Taylore Peterson came close to getting the Orange and Blue on the board in the 17th-minute when she released a shot from 10 yards out, but Ohio State's keeper Rachel Middleman made a leaping save and punched it over the crossbar.
Ohio State received their best chance to score in the half at the 41-minute mark. Lauren Granberg's shot was blocked by an Illini defender, but she collected her rebound and fired again from 10 yards out. Illinois goalie Steph Panozzo reacted instantly with a diving save to her left. With her arms in full extension, Panozzo grabbed the ball by her fingertips.
Illinois sustained their intensity in the second half as their back four maintained their defensive posture and kept the Buckeyes attack at bay. Illinois' solid defensive performance was highlighted by the fact that Ohio State did not earn their first corner kick until 10 minutes into the second period.
Illinois almost got their first goal in the 53rd-minute when Niki Read's shot from 21 yards out forced McVicker to make a leaping save. On the ensuing corner kick spearheaded by DiBernardo, the Illini designed a great play to free up Peterson at the top of the box but was thwarted at the last minute by the Buckeyes.
Ohio State was once again denied by the cat-like reflexes displayed by Panozzo in the 58th-minute. Buckeye Lauren Granberg was standing at the six yard box on the far post when she headed a ball on goal from a cross. Panozzo, without hesitating, leaped up into the air and punched the ball over the bar just in time.
Vanessa DiBernardo just missed out with scoring in back-to-back Big Ten games when she released a shot off of her left foot from around 24 yards out with 26 minutes remaining in the game. The ball flew just inches over the crossbar.
Then, in the 68th-minute, Illinois got their lone strike of the match thanks to great shot by freshman Taylore Peterson. The play started with a free kick taken by Kassidy Brown just inside the Buckeyes half. The ball found Breece at the top of the six yard box, who passed it off to Peterson who then one-timed the shot into the lower left corner of the goal. The tally was Peterson's second of the season and second game-winner. Breece collected her team-leading sixth point of the season while Brown recorded her first assist.
“We talked about how restarts, ours and theirs, could be the difference in the game tonight especially with the weather," said head coach Janet Rayfield. "Ohio State scored two goals on Minnesota off of restarts, so we certainly wanted to win the restart battle. We put a ball in the box and the thing about those kind of restarts is everyone has to be ready for the ball to come to them. Taylor Peterson was ready and the ball ended up at her feet and she found a way to put it in the back of the net. Tonight that was the difference in the score line.”
The Illini, remained focused after netting the goal, as Nicole Breece accelerated her offensive game. The freshman recorded three shots in the five minutes that followed the Illini goal.
In the closing minutes, the Orange and Blue did a great job of keeping the ball away from their goal and into Ohio State's half. When the clock hit zero, the Illini moved to 5-3-1 overall and 2-0-0 in Big Ten play.
"We are certainly excited for the win tonight," said Rayfield. "That’s a good Ohio State team and it’s great to get some wins in the Big Ten. I’m really proud of the way we played soccer. We battled for the ball and when we possessed it, we made some good decisions.”
The victory evens the overall series between the two programs at 8-8-1and snaps the Buckeyes six-game winning streak. The Illini also remain undefeated at home at 4-0-0 in which they have outscored their opponents 7-2. In addition, Illinois kept their unbeaten streak alive when they score first, in which they are now 5-0-0.
The Orange and Blue outshot the Buckeyes 19-13 and had more shots on goal with five compared to Ohio State's four. Illinois has now produced 47 shots in the previous two contests. Furthermore, the Illini earned a 7-3 corner kick advantage tonight.
Steph Panozzo recorded her third shutout of the season tonight. The senior also recorded four saves bringing her season total to 34.
Next, Illinois welcomes No. 11 Penn State to Champaign on Sunday, Sept. 23, with kickoff slated for 12 p.m. CT. The matchup marks the 7th annual SoccerFest. The first 1,000 fans receive free food and there will be inflatable games and a face painting station.