#16 Illinois Falls to #4 Oklahoma State, 1-0
Nov. 18, 2011
STILLWATER, Okla. - Illinois soccer fell in the NCAA Tournament Second Round to No. 4-nationally ranked and No. 2-seeded Oklahoma State at Cowgirl Soccer Stadium, 1-0, in Stillwater, Okla., on Friday evening. The Illini outshot the Cowgirls over the course of the contest, while the Illinois defense held Oklahoma State to only 13 attempts as the Orange and Blue controlled possession for the majority of the game. Illinois ends the season with a 17-5-2 overall record, the most victories for an individual campaign in program history.
"We came out in the second half after talking about how if we did the things we do well that we had all the pieces we needed to win," Illinois head coach Janet Rayfield said. "I still think that. We showed we had the pieces and we made some great decisions in and around their goal. We made them be the defensive team everyone says they are and their goalkeeper came up with great saves. We made them work for it, especially in the second half."
Senior midfielder Marissa Mykines nearly tallied a goal in the sixth minute to stake the Orange and Blue to an early lead with an opportunistic shot from just outside the 18-yard box. Mykines took a couple of touches to dribble on net and fired a line-drive strike that rose with the 20-25 MPH sustained winds. Oklahoma State goalkeeper Adrianna Franch was not expecting the play and was unable to reach up in time as the ball bounced off the cross bar and deflected over the net for a goal kick.
Less than three minutes later, Illini midfielder Vanessa DiBernardo also earned a high-quality attempt, with the Naperville, Ill., native coming inches from her 18th goal of the season. DiBernardo was marked in the box, but was able to spin off the defense and fire a shot to the right post in one motion. As the ball sailed toward the side-netting, Franch needed full extension to pull the ball down with a diving save before it could cross the line.
"Coming in here, we knew that AD [Adrianna] Franch was a top-level goalkeeper and that when you come up against someone like that, you want to make them earn it and make them perform at the level people say they are capable of. I think she made three world-class saves that most goalkeepers don't make and that is the difference between Illinois winning, 3-1, and Oklahoma State winning, 1-0. She was a difference-maker for them tonight."
Oklahoma State tallied the lone goal of the game in the 25th minute to create the difference in the contest. Annika Niemeier found the back of the net with an attempt into the right corner following passes from Krista Lopez and Megan Marchesano.
In the second half, with the Cowgirls playing with the wind at their back, Illinois was able to maintain pressure on the Oklahoma State defense and come away with high-quality chances as a result. Mykines earned the second on-target attempt of the night for the Mead High School graduate in the 51st minute while senior midfielder Julie Ewing followed with another on-frame strike in the 80th minute. Ewing's attempt was similar to DiBernardo's ninth-minute shot, as Ewing spun off the Oklahoma State defense and placed a strike near the right post. Franch was able to grab both second-half attempts to earn the clean sheet, needing another athletic diving save to keep Ewing from finding the equalizer.
Illinois outshot Oklahoma State, 18-12, on the contest and earned an 8-1 advantage in corner kicks. The Cowgirls were called for more fouls, 15-11, while Illinois' junior goalkeeper Steph Panozzo totaled six stops and Franch had seven saves in net.