Sophomore forward Jordan Hilbrands propelled Illinois to the NCAA second round with her golden goal against Memphis.
Nov. 14, 2008
COLUMBIA, Mo. - Illinois and Memphis battled into the second overtime before Illini sophomore forward Jordan Hilbrands netted the golden goal in the 103rd minute to propel the Orange and Blue into the second round of the NCAA Tournament at the Audrey J. Walton Complex on a rainy Friday evening. The Illini advance to the second round for the fifth year in a row and will face another set of Tigers, fourth-seeded host Missouri, on Sunday at 1 p.m. for the right to move on to the Round of 16.
Hilbrands second goal of the season came after a defensive struggle between the two teams through regulation and the first overtime period. Junior forward Chichi Nweke found a seam inside the 18 and slotted the ball to a streaking Hilbrands in the middle of the field. With Tiger goalkeeper Elise Kuhar-Pitters drawn to the left to defend against Nweke, Hilbrands punched it past the diving keeper for her second game-winner of the year.
The first half was a stalemate, as the teams went back and forth with possession in the midfield. Illinois' best look came in the 37th minute when senior forward Jessica Levitt took a shot from 16 yards out, but Kuhar-Pitters got her hands on the ball to keep it even heading into the break.
The Illini opened the second half with a pair of solid looks, as senior midfielder Marti Desjarlais centered a pass to sophomore forward Jordan Hilbrands in the 54th minute, but her chip shot sailed just high. Illinois threatened again two minutes later as sophomore midfielder Courtney Bell took a free kick from the top of the box that bounced off Kuhar-Pitters' outstretched hands.
Illinois narrowly missed taking the lead in the 82nd minute when junior midfielder Jackie Santacaterina drove to the top of the box and took a shot, but the ball hit the crossbar. The Orange and Blue defense withstood a late second-half attack from the Tigers, sending the game into overtime still knotted at zero. In the overtime period, Memphis collected three corner kicks, but were unable to capitalize as the Illinois defense staved off the Tigers to send it to the second overtime.
Ironically, Illinois won its NCAA first round game last season in a similar fashion. After a scoreless regulation, the Illini knocked off the Louisville Cardinals with a golden goal off the head of Ella Masar on an assist from Nweke.
Sunday's match between Illinois and Missouri will be available to watch for free in live online streaming.