Illinois Falls Short against Indiana, 5-3
Nov. 6, 2013
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - On a cold and rainy Wednesday that forced play to the Campus Recreation turf fields at the corner of First and Stadium Drive, Illinois came up short against Indiana, 5-3, in the Big Ten Tournament quarterfinal. The Illini received goals from senior Vanessa DiBernardo, Big Ten Forward of the Year Jannelle Flaws and senior Kassidy Brown, but the defense could not sustain the Hoosier attack.
"We really just didn't make good decisions defensively tonight," Rayfield said. "On this night, Indiana forced us to defend and we didn't do a good job doing that. You can't give up five goals and expect to win a Big Ten Tournament game and give up goals that were bad decisions a lot of the time. Credit Indiana, for every bad decision we made, they punished us. We scored three goals and that should be enough to win a Big Ten tournament game."
The Illinois women's soccer team was looking to make a run to its third straight Big Ten Tournament title game, but saw the bid cut short. The Hoosiers struck first and jumped on Illinois early, scoring in the sixth minute. The play started off a short pass from a corner kick. Lisa Nouanesengsy collected the ball at the top left side of the box and delivered a blast to the inside right post.
Indiana extended their lead in the 29th minute to 2-0. Tori Keller received a pass from Kayleigh Steigerwalt off a throw-in, dribbled toward the middle of the field and unleashed a shot from 20 yards out that bent to the upper right 90 of the goal.
Senior Vanessa DiBernardo tried to gain some momentum back for the Illini in the ensuing minutes off of a free kick. From 25 yards out, DiBernardo sent a bullet but it hit the crossbar and deflected out. One minute later, the Orange and Blue produced three straight corner kicks but the IU defense held each time.
The Hoosiers added one more goal before the break and carried a 3-0 lead into halftime. This one came from Rebecca Candler in the 38th minute. Veronica Ellis received the ball inside the box where she stepped by an Illini defender and took a shot. Taylore Peterson was there to block the would be goal but the deflected ball found Ellis, who finished the play.
Megan Pawloski almost got Illinois on the board in the closing seconds of the first half, as the senior tried to one time a ball off a DiBernardo corner kick from the right side, but her shot from the six-yard box soared just high.
Illinois was given new hope at the start of the second half when Nicole Breece drew a penalty kick for the Orange and Blue in the opening minutes. DiBernardo then buried her fifth goal of the season past the keeper to cut the lead to 3-1.
Indiana answered 11 minutes later to push its lead back to three goals at 4-1. Abby Smith sent a cross into the box deep from the left side where it found the head of Monica Melink.
The Hoosiers extended it to a 5-1 lead in the 74th minute. Indiana's Lara Ross scored when she sent a high chip into the box where it bounced over a charging Claire Wheatley and into the goal.
Not to be deterred, the Illini struck back just 50 seconds later, thanks to the school-record holder. Flaws dribbled down the right side of Indiana's box and shot a liner to the far left post, increasing her school record to 21 goals and tying her for the most in the nation in 2013.
Flaws almost notched another goal in the 81st minute after she fought through three Hoosier defenders to get an open shot around the penalty marker. But the shot was delivered right at Shannon Flower for the save.
Illinois collected its third and final goal in the 83rd minute off of a free kick by DiBernardo. The senior's high cross sailed deep into the middle of the box where he found a leaping and twisting Kassidy Brown who headed it over the keeper for her second goal of the season. DiBernardo earned her 22nd career assist, giving her sole possession of the school record and breaking the tie with Tara Hurless.
The Illini fell to 10-8-2 and it marked just the third time in school history that the Orange and Blue failed to reach the semifinals of the Big Ten Tournament. Illinois will await the NCAA Tournament selection show on Monday at 3:30 p.m. on NCAA.com to learn its postseason fate.