Freshman midfielder Vanessa DiBernardo's record-breaking four goal performance pushes her total goals on the season to nine.
Oct. 1, 2010
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - The University of Illinois Fighting Illini women's soccer team earned its first Big Ten Conference win of the season against the Purdue Boilermakers, 4-1, at Illinois Soccer Stadium on Friday. Freshman Vanessa DiBernardo led the Illini with a record-breaking night, notching four goals on the contest. DiBernardo's performance sets the Illini mark for most goals scored in a single game. The four-goal evening also ties the NCAA 2010 season record for goals in a contest and DiBernardo's eight points ties her for second among Division-I soccer players for most points in a game this year.
"I told Vanessa tonight, even before the game, to just play and not to worry about expectations. I think after scoring early, you start to expect it from yourself," said head coach Janet Rayfield. "What really is helping us right now is we are just playing with the expectation that we keep moving, continue moving off the ball, and continue getting better."
DiBernardo opened the scoring in the 24th minute. Purdue's defense flicked a header from inside the Purdue goalie box to DiBernardo's feet on an attempted clear. The Naperville, Ill., native settled the ball outside the top of the box and fired a shot past the Boilermakers' keeper, Carianne Betts.
Purdue responded in the second half to even the score at 1-1. Kellie Phillips knocked home a loose ball in the 55th minute after Illinois goalkeeper Alexandra Kapicka blocked Katie Leinert's initial shot.
Illinois answered with three consecutive goals in the final 10 minutes, assuming the lead again in the 81st minute. DiBernardo netted her third game-winning goal of the year with her seventh goal on the season as sophomore forward Shayla Mutz placed the ball into the left side of the box for DiBernardo, who gained control and blasted a shot into the upper-right corner of the net with her left foot.
Five minutes after notching the game-winner, DiBernardo earned her first collegiate hat trick by recovering a loose ball in the Purdue box and rocketing a shot by Betts into the right side-netting of the goal. The hat trick marks the first for an Illini since Chichi Nweke accomplished the feat against Utah during a 4-1 victory on Sept. 17, 2006.
Needing one more tally to earn sole possession of the individual single-game goals record, Dibernardo positioned herself perfectly to recover a diving on-target header by Mutz. After Betts turned aside the initial shot by Mutz, DiBernardo re-directed the rebound on net with 14 seconds remaining to reach the final, 4-1.
"It's nice [to be a record holder]. It's definitely something to be proud of," said DiBernardo. "It feels good [to surprise people]. We're just working hard and our effort is showing in the games we play. We just want to stay with that and be consistent."
For the contest, Illinois earned 15 shots, placing nine on net, while Purdue took seven, placing three on target. Betts stopped five shots for the Boilermakers while Kapicka answered with two saves to hold Purdue to one goal.
"For her to do this as a freshman is incredible," Rayfield said of DiBernardo's goal-scoring ability. "I think if you look at tonight, it was a lot of different things. Every goal she scored was slightly distinct. The thing about Vanessa is she's constantly engaged in the game so she's there to finish the rebound. This is what is great about this team. Vanessa earned goals from different places where multiple players on the team were involved in creating the opportunity."
The Fighting Illini (8-2-0 overall, 1-1-0 Big Ten) return to Illinois Soccer Stadium on Sunday, Oct. 3 for SoccerFest 2010 against Indiana at 1:00 p.m.