Soccer Earns Seventh Straight Win, Drops Nebraska, 3-1
Oct. 23, 2011
LINCOLN, Neb. - The University of Illinois soccer team traveled to Nebraska to face the Cornhuskers as a Big Ten opponent for the first time on Sunday afternoon, coming away victorious, 3-1, to secure the seventh conference win of the season for the Illini (13-4-1 overall, 7-2-1 Big Ten). Senior midfielder Marissa Mykines, senior defender Jenna Carosio and sophomore midfielder Vanessa DiBernardo each recorded one tally in the balanced offensive performance.
"Our finishing and efficiency this weekend was good in comparison to what it had been," Illinois assistant coach Jeff Freeman said on the Illini's pair of three-goal games against Northwestern and Nebraska. "[Marissa] Mykines scored two great goals for us, one against Northwestern and then another one today to break things open."
Mykines gave the Illini a one-goal lead as the Spokane, Wash., native did against Northwestern in the previous contest. During the 29th minute, junior forward Shayla Mutz found Mykines with a throw in 30 yards away from the net. Mykines dribbled across the top of the goalie box, 25 yards up-field, and fired a shot into the top-left corner of the goal for her seventh tally of the season.
Carosio doubled the Orange and Blue lead 11 minutes later, recording her second goal of the season in the process. Nebraska was called for a foul five yards outside the top of its 18-yard box, with a free kick awarded to the Illini as a result of the play. Carosio stepped up and drilled a shot through a wall of Cornhuskers defenders and past the diving save attempt by Nebraska goalie Emma Stevens for the two-goal advantage.
Morgan Marlborough scored for Nebraska 3:22 into the second half, cutting the Illinois lead to 2-1, while ending the Illini shutout streak at 533:36 consecutive minutes - only 77:32 shy of breaking the program record. After scoreless play for the majority of the remaining time, DiBernardo re-established Illinois' two-goal lead with 3:21 left in the contest. Mutz dribbled down the left sideline and crossed the ball into the box to a waiting DiBernardo, who placed home her 15th goal of the season. DiBernardo's 15 goals and 35 points ties the Naperville, Ill., native with Emily Brown for the second-most goals and points in a single year in Illinois history, with Brown's totals coming in 22 contests during the 2000 slate.
"Today had a bit of a postseason feel to it, with Nebraska throwing numbers forward in an attempt to get an equalizer in the second half," Freeman said. "We showed fight in the defensive third to win 50-50 balls and limit second chances, and we did everything we could as a group to limit Nebraska's chances."
Nebraska (7-9-1, 4-6-0) outshot the Orange and Blue, 19-17, and totaled three corner kick attempts to Illinois' two. Saves by Stevens and Illini junior goalkeeper Steph Panozzo were even at four each, while the Cornhuskers were called for 10 fouls against only six on Illinois.
Despite allowing the first goal since Sept. 30, Panozzo provided another clutch performance in net to secure victory for Illinois. The Maple Ridge, British Columbia, native stopped a trio of Nebraska shots in the first half, denying two early attempts to give the Orange and Blue offense time to find rhythm and the pair of first-half goals. Only two minutes after Illinois took its 2-0 lead, Panozzo snagged Samantha Areman's attempt at the 42:28 mark to keep Nebraska scoreless and preserve the two-goal advantage entering halftime. After allowing Marlborough to record the lone Nebraska tally, Panozzo stopped the Cornhuskers and Marlborough's final on-target attempt in the 72nd minute, with the Orange and Blue ahead by only one goal at the time.
"We did a great job of keeping Morgan Marlborough with her back to goal or wide of the net," Carosio said of Illinois' approach to limiting the dangerous forward, who has 20 goals on the season. "A lot of Marlborough's shots were stopped in front or were on the side of the net outside. Our outside backs did a great job of containing her. I feel like most of Nebraska's shots were outside the 18-yard box and Steph [Panozzo] was able to handle them well."
The Illini host Michigan (9-7-2, 4-5-1) at Illinois Soccer and Track Stadium during "Senior Night" on Saturday, Oct. 29 at 6 p.m. to close out the regular season. Admission and parking for all home Orange and Blue soccer contests is free throughout the 2011 season.