Laura Knutson tallied her firat goal of the season on a header in the second half.
Oct. 31, 2010
ANN ARBOR, Mich. - The University of Illinois women's soccer team fell to the Michigan Wolverines, 3-2, on Sunday. Laura Knutson and Megan Pawloski each tallied one goal to lead the Orange and Blue on offense.
"The combination of Michigan's pressure and the typical fatigue of a two-game weekend resulted in us making a lot of bad decisions that costs us," head Coach Janet Rayfield said. In terms of positives, we talked about creating opportunities at the end line. Although it was late in the 2nd half, we got to the end line, produced two goals and probably should have had a third goal from that."
Michigan earned the only goal of the opening half with 20:27 remaining in the first half. Off a corner kick, Meghan Toohey placed a shot through the scrum of players which landed in the lower-left corner of the net for her second tally of the season.
In the second half, Illinois exchanged goals with the Wolverines over the final 37 minutes. Michigan struck first by doubling its lead when Tori McCombs found Sarah Stanczyk inside the box at the 53:25 mark. Stanczyk delivered a low shot by the diving Alexandra Kapicka for her first collegiate goal.
Illinois responded and cut the deficit in half on a header goal by Knutson with 16:19 remaining in the contest. Marissa Mykines lined up for a corner kick and drilled the ball into the Michigan box. Knutson skimmed the ball off the bottom of the cross bar with a jumping header for her first goal of the season.
"Her ability in the air is one of her greatest strengths," said Rayfield on Knutson. "One of the things you need to be successful at, especially late in the season, is restarts as they can be a huge factor (in the game)."
Less than three minutes later, Nkem Ezurike added Michigan's final goal of the game. Ezurike earned the ball outside the box before dribbling in and placing it into the left corner. The Illini answered with a great opportunity when play resumed. Shayla Mutz crossed the ball into the center of the box; however, Jenna Carosio's shot fell wide of the net.
Illinois cut the deficit to one goal again with 1:12 remaining. Vanessa DiBernardo took the ball toward the corner flag and passed into the top of the box. Pawloski rushed onto the pass and placed it into the right corner for her fifth goal of the season; however, the Illini could not find the equalizer in the final minute.
On the game, Michigan outshot Illinois, 18-13, and earned 10 corners to the Illini's four. Illinois committed six fouls during the contest while the Wolverines were flagged for five. Kapicka totaled six saves in net while Haley Kopmeyer nabbed four Fighting Illini shots for the Wolverines.
The Orange and Blue (12-4-1 overall, 5-3-1 Big Ten) conclude their regular season slate with Senior Day at Illinois Soccer Stadium against Northwestern on Saturday, Nov. 6 with a 7 p.m. game.