Defensive Effort Leads Illinois Soccer to 1-0 Victory
Oct. 2, 2011
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - The University of Illinois soccer squad won its second Big Ten contest of the weekend, defeating the visiting Purdue Boilermakers, 1-0, at Illinois Soccer and Track Stadium on Sunday afternoon. Sophomore midfielder Vanessa DiBernardo recorded the lone goal of the contest on a penalty kick, while the Illini defense earned the first conference opponent shutout of the season by holding Purdue to only two shots.
"This was a typical Sunday, a physical Big Ten battle," Illinois head coach Janet Rayfield said. "We have to try to be better in terms of playing like ourselves on a Sunday and playing with energy. Even though we may not be as fresh as Friday, we have to try to find that rhythm and energy in the game a little bit better. It was kind of a sluggish warm up and it stayed sluggish in the first half. I thought it was a little bit better in the second half, but it is hard to get that engine going when you don't start it right from the beginning."
The Illini and Purdue completed a possession-oriented first half without either team finding a way into the scoring column, while the Orange and Blue earned six shot attempts against a lone strike from the Boilermakers. The second half mirrored the first as each team tested the opposition's defense, with Purdue keeping extra numbers back throughout to try and slow down the high-powered Illini offense. However, Illinois benefited from a Purdue penalty within their goalie box and converted their first penalty kick attempt of the season to create the difference in the contest.
Junior midfielder Marissa Mykines found a seam in the Purdue defense toward the left edge of the 18-yard box and Boilermaker Marta Lynch used a slide tackle from behind in an attempt to slow up Mykines during her breakaway in the 57th minute. The physical tackle resulted in a yellow card issued to Lynch and the penalty kick, which DiBernardo converted for her third goal on the weekend and 12th of the season.
The Orange and Blue outshot Purdue, 14-2, and placed six attempts on-target against only one on frame for Purdue, while Illinois tallied all five corner kick opportunities on the contest. Purdue showed their physical style of play throughout the contest and was flagged for 24 fouls as a result, compared to only nine called on the Illini. Illinois junior goalkeeper Steph Panozzo stopped the lone shot on goal from the Boilermakers while Clara Kridler made five saves for Purdue.
"This may be one of our better defensive performances," Rayfield said. "We came in knowing we were going to have to defend well on restarts and balls flying into the box. Purdue is a big, strong, physical team that is good in the air. We battled better than we have and as a result we have a clean sheet, the first clean sheet in the Big Ten, so that is an important step for us."
The Illini head to Michigan State (10-3-0, 3-2-0) for their next contest, playing on the Big Ten Network for the first time this season with a Saturday, Oct. 8 contest scheduled for noon CT. The game between the Orange and Blue and the Spartans will be broadcast on Sunday, Oct. 9 at 5 p.m. CT