Fighting Illini Shut Out Wisconsin, 1-0, During SoccerFest 2011
Oct. 16, 2011
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - The University of Illinois soccer team maintained its SoccerFest unbeaten streak, shutting down Wisconsin, 1-0, on Sunday afternoon for the team's fifth consecutive victory, all coming against conference foes. Sophomore forward Megan Pawloski recorded the lone tally of the contest, her third consecutive goal during a SoccerFest game, as the Belleville, Ill., native scored both Illini marks during SoccerFest 2010.
"We played some really good soccer, especially for a Sunday afternoon in the Big Ten," Illinois head coach Janet Rayfield said. "Some of the ball movement we had was great, especially in the first half, and that is what I think created the goal for us. I would have liked to have scored on a couple more of the chances, it would have been much better on my heart, but once again, the defense came through and held on for a 1-0 victory."
Illinois (11-4-1 overall, 5-2-1 Big Ten) struck for the only goal in the 25th minute, with Pawloski recording her sixth tally of the season. Sophomore midfielder Vanessa DiBernardo started the play in the middle of the field, dribbling toward the Wisconsin net before passing to junior forward Shayla Mutz near the endline inside the 18-yard box. Mutz added one touch to send a low cross through the box as Pawloski sprinted onto the play and used a sliding kick to re-direct the ball into the top of the netting from inside the six-yard box.
The Illini defense downed its fourth consecutive opponent by a margin of 1-0, as the Orange and Blue have kept Purdue, Michigan State, Minnesota and Wisconsin scoreless in succession, registering 415 consecutive shutout minutes dating back to Illinois' contest with Indiana on Sept. 30. Junior goalkeeper Steph Panozzo recorded five saves against the Badgers for her sixth shutout of the season, while the Illinois defense, including starters Jenna Carosio, Kassidy Brown and Stephanie Pouse, teamed to hold Wisconsin (8-5-3, 3-2-3) to only eight shots on the day.
"No only did she [Panozzo] make the save, but she made it clean," Rayfield said. "When you have a team that you are up 1-0 on and your keeper makes a couple big saves that are clean and doesn't give up a rebound, it really tells the other team that they are going to have to be great in order to get back into the game. I really like the fact that she not only made the save, but she made it clean, held onto it, got up and was ready to play."
Illinois heads to Northwestern (2-12-1, 1-6-1) and Nebraska (6-8-1, 3-5-0) for its final road trip of the season, facing the Wildcats on Thursday, Oct. 20 at 7 p.m. CT in Evanston, Ill., before challenging the Cornhuskers in Lincoln, Neb., on Oct. 23 at 1 p.m. CT.