Senior goalkeeper Lindsey Carstens tied the school's career shutout record on Sunday, collecting her 24th with Illinois 3-0 victory over Wisconsin.
Oct. 14, 2007
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Senior goalkeeper Lindsey Carstens notched her 24th career shutout in Illinois' 3-0 win over the Wisconsin Badgers in front of 490 fans on Sunday at the Illinois Soccer Stadium. Carstens is now tied for the school's career shutout record with current assistant coach Leisha Alcia.
Three different Illini contributed goals in the team's eighth shutout of the season. Senior midfielder Kara Gostisha netted the eventual game-winning goal in the first half, while junior forward Charlotte Cooke and freshman midfielder Cory Steigerwald added goals in the second half.
In one of the more physical matches of the season for Illinois (8-4-1, 3-2-1 Big Ten), featuring 26 combined fouls, the Illini held an 18-6 shot advantage over the Badgers (5-7-1, 1-4). It marked the 10th-straight match that the Orange and Blue have out-shot their opponent.
"I think it's expected when a team comes in here and the strength that they have is their mentality and their willingness to battle," head coach Janet Rayfield said on the physical nature of the match. "You have to give them credit for the fight that they showed. They wanted this to be a battle and it was. I thought we responded well, especially in the second half. I thought we did a better job in the second half of holding our ground and saying `If it's going to be physical, we'll be physical.'"
Both teams struggled early on the offensive end, as most of the first half was a midfield battled. Illinois picked up the pace late in the first half when freshman midfielder Danielle Kot took a free kick after a Wisconsin foul and sailed it inside the six-yard box. Gostisha punched the ball in with her head from the right side to give the Illini a 1-0 lead with just 50 seconds on the clock before halftime.
"The restart goal was important for two reasons," Rayfield said. "One, I think it lifted our team at the end of the half. When you fight against a team like that and keep them out and keep them out, and then they get one, it can be a little disheartening. It also put us up a goal, which meant toward the end of the game, Wisconsin had to do something. Once they started to try and equalize the game, the game opened up."
The Illini took advantage of the game opening up in the second half, notching two more goals within three minutes of each other. Cooke tallied her first goal of the season on a counter-attack opportunity, as she broke away from the defense and charged down the field in the 81st minute, firing a shot from 16 yards out to give Illinois a 2-0 lead.
"To come off the bench and have that kind of composure shows you what our training environment is like," Rayfield said. "When Charlotte got the ball and started past the last defender, one of the players on the bench said, `C'mon Char, we do this in practice. We do this in practice.' And she did it just like it was training."
The Illini added a third goal at 82:18 when Steigerwald picked up a loose ball and fired a shot from the left corner of the 18-yard box. Her shot deflected off a Wisconsin defender and rolled into the back of the net for her third goal of the season.
"I think Cory is one of those people who sits back and sees what's happening, learns everything and then sort of says, `OK, I got it,' and away she goes," Rayfield said. "She's done that over the last three or four weeks, and it's making a huge difference."
The stingy Orange and Blue defense shut out its sixth-straight opponent at home. The Illini now have a four-game unbeaten streak and have won three of their last four.
Illinois will return to the field on Friday at 7 p.m. for the final home match of the season, hosting the Indiana Hoosiers at the Illinois Soccer Stadium. The game is free for all fans and the Illini will recognize their seniors before the game.