Jessica Bayne scored the game-winning goal in Illinois' 3-2 win over Northwestern in Friday's Big Ten opener
Sept. 23, 2005
Champaign, Ill. - Natasha Karniski scored the fastest goal to start a game for Illinois this season, Mary Therese McDonnell notched her first career goal and Jessica Bayne put in the game-winner in the 48th minute as Illinois broke Northwestern's six-game winning streak with a 3-2 win in a back-and-forth match in front of 635 fans during a rain-soaked Beach Bash at Illinois Soccer Stadium.
"We have a tough team," Karniski said. "When it's a physical battle, that's something we can really get into. We just look at it like a challenge, and I think we met that challenge today."
The Illini (5-2-2 overall, 1-0 in the Big Ten) scored twice in the first 15 minutes and all four defenders recorded at least one point as they overcame being outcornered (5-4) for the first time all season and handed the Wildcats their first loss in September.
"Our intensity was good," Illinois coach Janet Rayfield said. "We battled and even when we weren't playing well and weren't winning balls, there was always someone there to challenge for it."
Karniski (Iowa City, Iowa) lit up the scoreboard first, finding a seam on the left side of the penalty box and scoring near post from eight yards after slipping past her defender. It was Karniski's third goal of the season, coming at 9:05 in the first half off a long serve from Kelly Campbell (Gaithersburg, Md.) and a pass from Eva Strickland (Seattle, Wash.), to put Illinois up 1-0.
Just over five minutes later, McDonnell (Orland Park, Ill.) got her first career goal on a rebound off an Emily Zurrer (Vancouver, B.C.) header that hit the crossbar off a corner kick. McDonnell's goal came at 14:37 and staked the Illini to their biggest lead that early in a game this season at 2-0.
But the Wildcats (7-2-0, 0-1) recovered, pushing across a goal at 38:23 as Jenny Dunn found the back of the net after taking a pass that Illini goalkeeper Lindsey Carstens challenged but didn't win, to cut the lead to 2-1 at halftime. Bayne (Troy, Ill.) notched her first goal of 2005 in the 48th minute off a corner kick by Christen Karniski (Iowa City, Iowa) to give Illinois another two-goal cushion at 3-1. Northwestern controlled the style of play in the second half, though, coming at the Illini and pushing forward at every opportunity.
It paid off in the 54th minute as Dunn scored her second goal of the night on a nifty shot from 10 yards out on the left side, going over a leaping Carstens to bring Northwestern within 3-2. But Illinois clamped down in the last 36 minutes, allowing only four shots - one on goal - the remainder of the game and holding on for a 3-2 win to open Big Ten play.
"It's nice to go and get some goals against Northwestern, and it feeds into our confidence for Sunday (against Wisconsin)," Karniski said. "Now we just need to have the defensive team effort like we've had all season along with the offensive team. Hopefully both of those will come together on Sunday."
The Illini host No. 16 Wisconsin (5-2-2) on Sunday at 2 p.m. Fans can receive free admission by bringing their ticket stub from Saturday's football game. It is also Girl Scout day.