Nov. 10, 2012
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COLUMBIA, Mo. - After a blistery night in Columbia, the University of Illinois women's soccer team moved on to the second round of the NCAA Tournament after advancing 3-0 on a penalty kick shootout against the Missouri Tigers. The Illini and Mizzou tied 1-1 after 110 minutes of play which saw Allie Osoba score the lone goal for Illinois with Shayla Mutz credited with the assist. Taylore Peterson, Kassidy Brown and Aliina Weykamp converted successful PK's along with two huge saves from Steph Panozzo.
"A lot of credit to Missouri for they put us under a lot of pressure and with the style they play, I told our kids that we would have to weather the storm, and we certainly did," said Illinois head coach Janet Rayfield. "This Illinois team is special, and tonight we fought hard and defended well to beat a good Missouri team."
Senior Niki Read got the offense rolling, recording three near misses in the first 16 minutes, but it was junior Allie Osoba who got the Illini on the board in the 19th-minute.
Shayla Mutz collected and dribbled the ball at the top of Mizzou's 18-yard box. The senior then dished a pass to the right side of the box, where the ball found a streaking Osoba running past the Tigers' defense. Osoba then delivered a a low lining shot that found the left corner of the net. The strike was Osoba's third goal on the year and has now scored in back-to-back games.
Illinois goalkeeper Steph Panozzo was in great form from the start of the contest, coming off her line several times to grab the ball out of the air or to negate the Mizzou breakaway. Her highlight of the first half came in the 38th-minute when the Tigers had a numbers advantage off of a transition breakaway. Missouri's Kelsey Mulcahy struck a low liner to the right corner and Panozzo dove and tipped the ball, as it then ricocheted off the post and the Illini defense cleared and kept MIzzou off the board heading into halftime.
However, the Tigers took advantage of having the wind to their back in the second half and tied the game in the 53rd-minute. Danielle Nottingham collected a pass in the middle of the field about 22 yards out from Illinois' goal and then released a shot that ricocheted off the right post and in.
The Tigers continued to utilize the wind, releasing shots from way outside the Illinois box. In the 70th-minute, Mizzou hit back to back shots from far out that hit the right post both times.
Illinois would get their chances to go ahead late in the game as well. DiBernardo produced a shot with just under 10 minutes to play inside the Missouri box that was saved by the keeper. Moments later, Nicole Breece beat a Tiger defender via scissors move that freed space for a shot that went just wide.
With just five seconds remaining in the second period, Mizzou released a shot from the top of the Illinois box which made all in attendance hold their breath as the ball sailed inches left of the post.
After a scoreless first overtime, the action along with the nerves of the hundreds watching picked up. Panozzo was tested with a diving save to stop a Mizzou cross in the opening minute. Moments later, it was the Illini's turn as DiBernardo's pass sent Weykamp on a breakaway. With a Tiger giving chase to apply pressure from behind, Weykamp's shot just missed right of the post.
With three minutes left, it was freshman Amy Feher's turn to save the day and the season for the Orange and Blue. Dominiqu Richardson connected with a header deep in the Illinois box off of a Mizzou corner kick. The ball sailed to the far post, but Feher was positioned perfectly to block the shot and clear the ball.
The match then turned into a deja vu moment for Coach Rayfield as it headed into a PK shootout. The last time these two squads battled, it was the second round of the NCAA Tournament in 2008, where Illinois advanced with a 4-3 PK win after ending regulation in a 1-1 tie.
Steph Panozzo then took over the game, blocking the first two shots from Mizzou with diving saves. Taylore Peterson and Kassidy Brown stepped up for the Orange and Blue and quieted the home crowd with successful shots from both kickers. Missouri's third kicker then opened the door for Illinois after blasting her shot off the crossbar. Aliina Weykamp then sent the Illini into the second round of the tournament with a successful PK.
Missouri outshot Illinois 28-19 but had only eight shots on goal compared to the Illini's seven. The Tigers also enjoyed a 9-3 corner kick advantage in the contest. Panozzo finished with seven saves to bring her season total to 104, which gives her sole possession of second place in Illinois history for most saves in a season, seven behind leader and current assistant coach Leisha Alcia.
Illinois moves to 10-8-4 overall on the year and will travel to Chapel Hill next weekend to take on two-seed and Rayfield's alma mater, North Carolina. Game time is scheduled for Friday, Nov. 16, at 5:30 p.m. CT.