Feb. 4, 2014
...was ranked No. 25 in the final NSCAA Coaches Poll
...reached the NCAA Sweet Sixteen for the fourth time
...made its 12th NCAA Tournament appearance
...was in the NCAA Tournament for the fourth year in a row
...was one of a record 8 Big Ten teams in the NCAA Tournament
...was T-2nd in the Big Ten with 54 goals (3rd in school history)
...was led by Jannelle Flaws' 23 goals (UI Record, T-1st in NCAA)
...was 11-4-0 when scoring more than 2 goals
...was 6-0-1 when leading at halftime
...was 7-1-2 when scoring first
2013 NCAA Tournament in Review
Illinois reached the Sweet Sixteen of the NCAA Tournament for the fourth time in school history in 2013. The Illini's exciting tournament run began when the Selection Show unveiled a trip to Pullman, Wash., for a first round match against No. 21 Washington State. Illinois made the longest first round trip of any tournament team at nearly 2,000 miles and ended up playing the longest possible game at the muddy Lower Soccer Field. After two overtime periods, the contest ended in a 0-0 draw, sending it to penalty kicks with a trip to the second round on the line. UI won the PK shootout, 3-1, thanks to two saves by freshman goalkeeper Claire Wheatley and the game-winner by senior Vanessa DiBernardo.
Illinois continued its run with a thrilling 4-3 overtime victory over No. 7 Portland in Lincoln, Neb. The Illini battled back from a 2-0 halftime deficit on a snowy Nebraska Soccer Field and netted three second-half goals to send the NCAA second round match to an extra period. Big Ten Forward of the Year Jannelle Flaws connected on the golden goal with a minute remaining, sending Illinois to the NCAA third round for the first time since 2008.
In the Sweet Sixteen, 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 with a 24-13 advantage in shots, but BC goalkeeper Alex Johnson made nine saves to thwart the Orange and Blue attack.
UI NCAA Tournament History
Illinois has played in the NCAA Tournament 12 times in 17 seasons and are 11-12-3 all-time in tournament action. UI's top finish was the Elite Eight during the 2004 season, while they also reached the Sweet Sixteen in 2006, 2008 and 2013.
With its 3-1 penalty kicks victory in round one over Washington State in 2013, Illinois advanced to the NCAA Tournament second round for the second-straight season in penalty kicks, as they also did so at Missouri in 2012. The Illini have moved on in all three tournament games featuring penalty kicks, with the other also coming over Missouri in 2008. It also marked the ninth time in 12 appearances that UI has advanced to the second round, as they are 7-3-2 all-time in the first round. Illinois improved to 3-5-1 in the second round with its 4-3 overtime win over Portland. This Illini senior class finished 2-4-2 in their career after qualifying for the NCAA Tournament during all four years.
During their first appearance in the tournament, the Illini defeated Xavier, 2-0, in Champaign during the 2000 season before falling to Big Ten Champion Penn State, 1-0, in overtime in the second round. Illinois went on to see first round competition in both the 2001 and 2003 seasons before its longest run through the NCAA Tournament.
In 2004, the Illini downed Rice, 2-0, and No. 7 Texas A&M, 2-1, during the first and second rounds in College Station, Texas, to earn the right to host the Sweet Sixteen - where the Orange and Blue downed Nebraska, 2-1. Illinois hit the road again for the Elite Eight, heading to California to face Santa Clara, where the Illini fell, 2-0, to end their magical run.
During 2006 and 2008, the Orange and Blue advanced to the Sweet Sixteen, dominating Southeast Missouri State, 2-0, and Saint Louis, 4-1, to reach the third round in 2006. Two years later, Illinois needed two overtimes to beat Memphis, 1-0, during first round competition, before using penalty kicks to down No. 13 Missouri in Columbia, Mo., during the second round. UI fell to eventual national champion North Carolina in the Sweet Sixteen.
After an opening-round exit at the hands of No. 22 USC in 2010, Illinois sent Notre Dame packing with a 1-0 shutout victory in the first contest of the 2011 version, the first time a defending national champion squad was bounced from the tournament in the opening round. Illinois then fell to No. 4 Oklahoma State in the second round, 1-0. Last season, Illinois advanced past Missouri in a shootout before falling to eventual national champion North Carolina in the second round.
Illini Finish Season Ranked No. 25
In the final NSCAA/Continental Tire Coaches Poll, Illinois was ranked No. 25, as the entered the Top 25 for the first time all season. The Illini received votes in the first three polls of the year and finished with an 11-9-3 overall record.
DiBernardo Highest Drafted Illini
University of Illinois midfielder Vanessa DiBernardo was drafted by the Chicago Red Stars with the No. 4 overall pick in the National Women's Soccer League (NWSL) College Draft in January. DiBernardo became the highest drafted player in school history and the first Illini taken in the second year of the NWSL draft.
The Naperville, Ill., native was the third Illini to be drafted by the Chicago Red Stars, who previously selected two former Illini in the Women's Professional (WPS) draft. Former Illini forward Ella Masar was the first player in program history to be drafted when she was selected by the Red Stars with the ninth overall pick in 2008. Other former Illini taken in the WPS Draft include Mary Therese McDonnell (53rd, Sky Blue FC) and Christen Karniski (64th pick, Washington Freedom) in 2009 and Jackie Santacaterina (60th pick, Chicago Red Stars) in 2010.
Flaws' Record Season By the Numbers
Forward Jannelle Flaws finished tied for first in the nation with a school-record 23 goals in 2013. Flaws broke Emily Brown's 14-year-old UI record of 18 goals from 1999 and accounted for 43 percent (23 of 54) of Illinois' goals. The Big Ten Forward of the Year became just the second Illini ever to lead the conference in goals, joining DiBernardo, who did so with 11 goals in 2010. The first-team All-Great Lakes Region selection found the net in 15 of 23 games, notched five game-winning goals and boasted six multi-goal games, including a pair of hat tricks. Flaws also broke the school record for most shots in a season at 126 and most shots in a game with 14 vs. Portland.
Flaws posted a breakout year in just her second full season on the field. She entered 2013 with just three career goals after only playing in the 2011 season, where she was named to the Big Ten All-Freshman Team. She was sidelined for the 2010 and 2012 seasons due to two knee injuries. After playing in only 45 career games, she ranks seventh in school history with 26 career goals.
Third-Most Goals in School History
Illinois' 54 goals in 2013 ranked as the third-most in school history and most under head coach Janet Rayfield. The Illini eclipsed their previous top mark under Rayfield from 2011 (53) and were only three goals shy of the school record of 57 set in 2000. Illinois finished tied for second in the Big Ten and 12th in the nation with 54 goals.
Record 8 Big Ten Teams Made NCAAs
The Illini were one of a conference-record eight Big Ten women's soccer teams to earn a bid into the 2013 NCAA Division I Women's Soccer Championship. Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, Ohio State and Penn State all earned berths to the national tournament, breaking the previous record of six Big Ten teams that occurred in 1998, 2002 and 2010. Illinois' Sweet Sixteen appearance was the second-best finish among the eight teams behind only Michigan, which reached the Elite Eight.
Illinois' Penalty Kick Success
Illinois has had consistent success in penalty kicks under head coach Janet Rayfield. The Illini went to a penalty kick shootout seven times over the past seven years and boast a 6-1 record in those games. Illinois advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament each of the past two seasons on PKs. UI topped Washington State 3-1 this season and went a perfect 3-0 against Missouri last year. Illinois also won 3-2 in PKs vs. Minnesota (2012) and 4-2 in PKs vs. Ohio State (2011) in the first round of the Big Ten Tournament in back-to-back years. The Illini's other PK win in the NCAA Tournament came in 2008 at Missouri with a 4-3 edge. Their only loss in PKs was 4-3 to Michigan State in the 2008 Big Ten Tournament. Illinois' first PK shootout came in 2007 with a 4-3 victory over Minnesota in the Big Ten Tournament.
DiBernardo Clutch in Postseason
Senior midfielder Vanessa DiBernardo missed seven games this season due to a knee sprain, but returned to action for Illinois' final six games. DiBernardo went down with the injury on Sept. 27 at the end of the first half against Iowa. The Illini went 2-5 over the next seven games without their All-American star. The Naperville, Ill., native started and played three minutes on Senior Day against Michigan State (Oct. 27), registered 12 minutes at Minnesota (Oct. 31) and tallied 64 minutes, including the entire second half, against Indiana (Nov. 6) in the Big Ten Tournament. The two-time All-American played all 110 minutes in the NCAA Tournament first round and sent the Illini to the next round with the clinching penalty kick. She again played the entire time (99 minutes) in the second round vs. Portland in which she netted two goals, including the equalizer on a penalty kick. Illinois was 3-2-1 once she returned and 8-4-3 with DiBernardo in the lineup this season (also missed one game while with U.S. WNT).
Wheatley Reached 100 Saves
Freshman goalkeeper Claire Wheatley made 101 saves in her debut season, which ranked second in the Big Ten. She is one of just three Illini keepers to ever record triple-digit saves in a season. Former Illini Steph Panozzo (2012) and Leisha Alcia (2004) share the school record for most saves in a season with 111.
She was named Player of the Week by Top Drawer Soccer (TDS) and Chicagoland Soccer News following her top performance of the season in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament. The Plano, Texas, native earned her first career full shutout with a career-high 11 saves during a double overtime 0-0 draw on a muddy Lower Soccer Field against No. 21 Washington State. Wheatley also made two saves during penalty kicks, as the Illini topped the Cougars 3-1 and advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament. Wheatley, who collected the weekly honor for the first time in her career, headlined the TDS Team of the Week. Despite playing in adverse field conditions, she consistently made stops to keep WSU off the board over the 110 minutes.
Illinois had over twice as many goals in the second half (38) as it had in the first half (14). The Illini also had a pair of golden goals: freshman Meegan Johnston in the 5-4 overtime victory at Louisville (8/25) and redshirt-junior Jannelle Flaws in the 4-3 overtime victory vs. No. 7 Portland (11/22).
Illinois had five comeback wins in 2013. The Illini trailed 3-2 at Louisville before completing the 5-4 victory in overtime. UI battled back from a 1-0 halftime deficit against Indiana State to win 3-2. The Orange and Blue trailed Northwestern 1-0 early before winning 3-1 thanks to the hat trick by Jannelle Flaws. Illinois needed a second-half comeback to clinch a Big Ten Tournament berth against Minnesota, as they fell behind 1-0 before scoring three goals in eight minutes to notch the 3-1 victory. The Illini trailed 2-0 at halftime and battled back from down 3-1 in the second half vs. No. 7 Portland to win 4-3 in overtime.
Flaws Named B1G Forward of Year
University of Illinois forward Jannelle Flaws was named Big Ten Forward of the Year following her record-breaking season and was a unanimous first-team All-Big Ten selection. The Glenview, Ill., native is the first Illinois soccer player to be selected as Big Ten Forward of the Year since the conference began honoring the top player at each position in 2011 and became the sixth Illini to garner one of the conference's top individual awards. Vanessa DiBernardo (Midfielder of the Year) and Jenna Carosio (Defender of the Year) were the last Illini to earn the conference's top honor at their position in 2011. Former Illini Ella Masar earned the Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year and Emily Zurrer was the Big Ten co-Defensive Player of the Year in 2006. Christen Karniski was selected as Big Ten co-Defensive Player of the Year in 2005.
Goals Came from All Over
Illinois had 14 different players score a goal during the 2013 season. Forward Jannelle Flaws was tied for first in the nation with her school-record 23 goals, while senior Vanessa DiBernardo was second on the team with seven goals and junior Allie Osoba was third with five goals. Senior Megan Pawloski tied with freshman Casey Conine for fourth on the Illini with three goals, while senior Kassidy Brown and sophomores Nicole Breece and Regan Robishaw each had two goals. Four other Illini, sophomores Megan Green and Anastasia Medellin and freshmen Meegan Johnston and Allison Stucky, each scored their first career goals in 2013. Sophomores Taylore Peterson and Amy Feher rounded out the Illini goal scorers, as they each had one.
Holding onto the Lead
Illinois was 6-0-1 when leading at halftime in 2013 and only had one loss after leading: at Indiana (led 1-0, lost 3-2).
DiBernardo in the Record Book
After leading the team in points, goals and shots during her first three seasons, senior Vanessa DiBernardo cemented her name in the UI record book despite missing seven games due to a knee injury in her final season. With a team-high seven assists in 2013, DiBernardo set the school record for most career assists with 22, passing Tara Hurless (21). DiBernardo's 108 career points rank third on the all-time list behind Emily Brown (109) and Hurless (115), while her 43 career goals also rank third, again behind the duo of Brown (46) and all-time leader Hurless (47).
She finished tied with Hurless for the most career shots with 325 and owns the top spot with her 153 career shots-on-goal. DiBernardo ended her career second in game-winning goals with 14 behind all-time leader Hurless (16). DiBernardo also was one of the best offensive players in Illinois history in Big Ten play-only. Her 20 career conference goals and 50 career conference points both rank first all-time.
Pawloski Flipped It In to Osoba
Senior Megan Pawloski ranked second on the Illini with five assists in 2013, including a pair coming from her flip throw-ins. Junior Allie Osoba twice scored the game-winning goal from the Pawloski flip pass: vs. Iowa (9/27) and vs. Michigan State (10/27).
Osoba Scored in 16 Seconds
Junior Allie Osoba scored the second-fastest goal in school history against Illinois State on Sept. 1, finding the net 16 seconds into the game off the opening kick off. It was three seconds shy of the fastest goal in school history, which was 13 seconds by Lindsay Johnson against Penn State on Nov. 11, 2001. Following the opening kick, sophomore Amy Feher sent a perfect pass up the left side to sophomore Nicole Breece, who popped a cross into the center of the box that was headed in by Osoba. The Orland Park, Ill., native scored a career-high five goals in 2013.
Flaws' Weekly Awards in 2013
Redshirt-junior Jannelle Flaws was named Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week for the first time in her career on Sept. 3. The Glenview, Ill., native scored four goals on 13 shots in Illinois' pair of wins during its first home weekend, which included her first career hat trick on Sept. 1 against Illinois State. Flaws tallied the final goal on Aug. 30 in Illinois' 6-2 rout of College of Charleston, where UI notched its most goals ever in a home opener. Against ISU, she posted three goals, becoming the first Illini to record a hat trick since Niki Read against Ball State on Aug. 26, 2011.
Flaws earned a trio of weekly awards following her two-goal performance against No. 20 Wisconsin on Oct. 12. The Glenview, Ill., native was honored as a CollegeSoccer360.com (CS360) Primetime Performer, named to the Top Drawer Soccer (TDS) Team of the Week and picked as the College Sports Madness (CSM) Big Ten Player of the Week. Flaws scored the final two goals, including the game winner, in Illinois' 3-2 victory over the Badgers on Saturday, Oct. 12.
Extra Time Needed
Illinois played six overtime games in 2013, including four in its first nine contests, which marked the most in school history to begin the year. The Illini were 2-1-3 in OT games with wins at Louisville and against Portland in the second round of the NCAA Tournament. UI's only loss in extra time was when it fell 4-3 in double overtime at Arizona State. The Orange and Blue had 1-1 draws in the regular season against Arizona and Ohio State and advanced past Washington State in the first round of the NCAA Tournament following the 0-0 draw.
200th Win in School History
With its 5-1 victory over Illinois State on Sunday, Sept. 1, Illinois recorded its 200th victory in school history. Beginning in 1997, Illinois soccer has compiled an overall record of 208-131-28 (.605) with 12 NCAA Tournament appearances in 17 seasons. Head coach Janet Rayfield (151-89-25) is responsible for 72 percent of those wins and 10 NCAA Tournament appearances in her 12 seasons at the helm.
Champaign to Pullman: 1,932 Miles
The Illinois women's soccer team made the longest first round trip of all 64 NCAA Tournament teams. The Illini made the trek from Champaign, Ill., to Pullman, Wash., which measured 1,932 miles. On the return trip, Illinois was in all four time zones, going from Pullman to Spokane to Denver to Indianapolis to Champaign. The next two longest trips were Duke to Colorado College (1,420 miles) and Utah to Texas A&M (1,117 miles).
DiBernardo Called up to U.S. WNT
Senior midfielder Vanessa DiBernardo was called up to replace injured Megan Rapinoe on the U.S. Women's National Team for the USA's Sept. 3 match against Mexico at RFK Stadium in Washington D.C. The Naperville, Ill., native trained with the U.S. WNT, but did not earn her first cap. She only missed one game with Illinois (Sept. 1 vs. Illinois State).
The 21-year-old DiBernardo was a key member of the U.S. team that won the 2012 FIFA Under-20 Women's World Cup in Japan, starting all six games and playing all but 30 minutes of the tournament. She scored a huge goal in the 2-1 quarterfinal victory against a Korea DPR side whose starting lineup was made up mostly of players from its 2012 Olympic Team. DiBernardo finished her U-20 career with 20 international caps and three goals and has been in several camps with the U.S. Under-23 Women's National Team this year, earning three caps.
DiBernardo Senior CLASS Finalist
University of Illinois senior midfielder Vanessa DiBernardo was named a finalist for the 2013 Senior CLASS Award, which honors student-athletes who excel both on and off the field. DiBernardo was one of 10 women's soccer players up for the award, which included two other members of the Big Ten in Penn State's Maya Hayes and Michigan's Holly Hein.
The finalists were chosen by a media committee from the list of 30 women's candidates announced in August. Nationwide fan voting begins immediately to help select the winner. Fans are encouraged to vote on the Senior CLASS Award website through November 25. Fan votes will be combined with media and Division I head coaches' votes to determine the winner. The Senior CLASS Award winners will be announced during the 2013 NCAA Men's and Women's College Cup championships in December.
To be eligible for the award, a student-athlete must be classified as an NCAA Division I senior and have notable achievements in four areas of excellence - community, classroom, character and competition. An acronym for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School, the Senior CLASS Award focuses on the total student-athlete and encourages students to use their platform in athletics to make a positive impact as leaders in their communities.
DiBernardo's Academic Awards
Along with being a Senior CLASS Award finalist, senior Vanessa DiBernardo earned several academic awards during her final season in orange and blue. She was named a Capital One second-team Academic All-American by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) after originally being a first-team All-District selection. Following the season, she was named a third-team NSCAA Scholar All-American and Academic All-Big Ten.
Offensive Firepower on Display
The Illini totaled 16 goals (5-6-5) during their three-game winning streak from Aug. 25-Sept. 1, equaling the second-most goals in a three-game span in school history behind the record 17 goals (8-6-3) scored in 2000. The Orange and Blue topped Louisville, 5-4 (OT), on Aug. 25, downed College of Charleston, 6-2, in the home opener on Aug. 30 and dispatched Illinois State, 5-1, on Sept. 1. The 16 goals over three games is the most ever under 12th-year head coach Janet Rayfield, while the six goals in the home opener was the most in program history. Illinois combined to score 15 goals or more in three consecutive games six times in program history.
UI Hosted Big Ten Tournament
Illinois hosted the Big Ten Tournament for the second time in school history and first since 2000. The Illini earned the No. 5 seed after finishing tied for fifth with Iowa and Wisconsin in the conference standings with a record of 5-5-1 (16 points) and winning the tiebreaker after defeating both teams during the regular season. UI made its 14th tournament appearance but were knocked out by Indiana in the opening round, which was moved to the two Campus Recreation turf soccer fields at the corner of First Street and Stadium Drive due to weather. Illinois' all-time record in the event is 15-11-4.
New Scoreboard Unveiled
In 2013, a brand new video scoreboard was installed at the south end of the Illinois Soccer Stadium. The Daktronics DVX-20MT LED video display measures approximately 11 feet by 19 feet. Along with the new scoreboard, the stadium also was updated with a Daktronics Sportsound 1500HD Sound System.