Illinois Falls to Boston College in Sweet Sixteen, 4-1
Nov. 24, 2013
LINCOLN, Neb. - In its fourth Sweet Sixteen appearance, Illinois saw its NCAA Tournament run come to an end, falling 4-1 to Boston College in the Round of 16. The Illini had chances on Sunday with a 24-13 advantage in shots, but BC goalkeeper Alex Johnson made nine saves to thwart the Orange and Blue attack. Sophomore Amy Feher turned in UI's lone goal with a header near the end of the first half.
"I am proud of this team for the character they showed, the level of play we demonstrated today, and the way they represented our program and our university," head coach Janet Rayfield said. "We created enough chances to win, but we couldn't convert in front of the goal. We allowed Boston College to get the looks they needed and they converted. Our collective ability to keep the ball out of the net has been our Achilles heel all year and it cost us today. This team fought hard and were one of the last 16 teams standing. They have much to be proud of."
Illinois wrapped up the 2013 season with an overall record of 11-9-3 and 54 goals, the most under Rayfield and third-most in school history. Redshirt-junior Jannelle Flaws, who led the Illini with seven shots, increased her school record to 126 shots and finished the year tied for first in the nation with a school-record 23 goals. Senior Vanessa DiBernardo closed out her decorated career with four shots, including three on frame, in her final game.
Boston College struck first in the seventh minute on a rebound goal by Gibby Wagner off the initial shot by Hayley Dowd to make it 1-0. The first half finished with a flurry of goals, as the teams combined for three goals in less than three minutes. BC's Hayley Dowd dribbled from the right side through the box and connected on a shot from the left side to make it 2-0 Eagles.
Just 44 seconds later, Illinois cut the deficit in half on the first goal of the year by Feher, who pushed up from the back line and headed in a goal off the free kick by freshman Casey Conine and tip header by Flaws. The Eagles struck back in 56 seconds with a goal by their leading McKenzie Meehan, making it 3-1 BC.
Despite owning a 13-7 edge in shots during the opening frame, Illinois entered halftime trailing by two goals. The Illini again led 11-6 in shots during the second half, but the BC keeper made six of her nine stops in the period. The Orange and Blue also came up empty on six corner kicks and finished with a 9-2 advantage in the category. BC turned in its final goal in the 77th minute, wrapping up the 4-1 final.