Illini Top Iowa in Physical Big Ten Battle, 2-1
Sept. 27, 2013
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - In a physical Friday night match at the Illinois Soccer Stadium, the Illini (6-2-2, 1-0-1) captured their first Big Ten win with a hard-fought 2-1 victory over Iowa (8-2-0, 0-2-0). Redshirt-junior Jannelle Flaws scored her team-high 10th goal in the eighth minute, while junior Allie Osoba knocked in the game winner in the 53rd minute off the flip throw-in by senior Megan Pawloski. Freshman goalkeeper Claire Wheatley also made a game-saving stop in the 71st minute on an Iowa penalty kick.
"That was just a gutsy and gritty game," head coach Janet Rayfield said. "It wasn't pretty, but we found a way to win. We did whatever it took, and it really was 'make a PK save kind of game.' I have to give some credit to both teams. It was just one of those gritty Big Ten games and we're happy we had the fight to win this one."
Illinois came out on top in a Big Ten battle that featured a pair yellow cards on the Hawkeyes and 21 Iowa fouls, the most by an Illini opponent this season, which knocked three UI players out of the game. The Orange and Blue outshot Iowa 17-11 behind a strong defensive effort and solid performance by Wheatley.
For the second game in a row, Flaws found the net in the first 10 minutes to give Illinois an early 1-0 advantage. The Glenview, Ill., won a ball in Illinois territory and recognized the Iowa goalkeeper pushed up to far on the other end. After passing midfield, Flaws popped a shot from nearly 40 yards out that sailed over the keeper's head and bounced into the back of the net for her 10th goal, which ranks second in the Big Ten.
"It was a great finish from Jannelle who recognized the goalkeeper was off her line," Rayfield said. "What a great strike to put it over her and underneath the crossbar."
In the 22nd minute, Iowa scored its only goal of the night on a left-sided cross by Amanda Lulek and header goal Katie Nasenbenny. The contest went to halftime all square at one apiece with the Illini holding an 8-5 edge in shots.
Just like in the first half, Illinois scored seven and a half minutes into the second half. Pawloski fired a flip throw-in from the right sideline to the center of the six-yard box, where Osoba got a piece of the ball to direct it in. It marked a career-high fourth goal for Osoba, who collected her second career game winner, and second assist this season for Pawloski.
Illinois' scouting came through in the 71st minute when Wheatley made a game-saving play on the penalty kick following an Illini handball in the box. The Plano, Texas, native dove left onto the ground into the perfect position to make the save and keep the Illini out in front.
"It's great for her to get her first PK save as a freshman goalkeeper," Rayfield said. "She's got quick reactions and she guessed the right way. Her quickness and her athleticism certainly helped her out."
The Illini remained undefeated at home (5-0) in 2013 and improved to 8-0 all-time in games in Champaign against Iowa. Illinois is now 13-5-1 overall against the Hawkeyes.
Up Next: The Illini will host their premier promotion, SoccerFest, on Sunday, Sept. 29 when they take on Nebraska at 1 p.m. The eighth-annual SoccerFest will feature free pizza for the first 1,000 fans, a petting zoo, a create your own animal keychain station, the chance to make your own caramel apple and post-game autographs. The Sunday Soccer Fan Zone will be available for fans one hour prior to the game and a Celebrity Bumper Ballz Showdown will be held at halftime.