Women's Soccer
Illinois Soccer Hands Out Team Awards at Annual Banquet

Senior Vanessa DiBernardo shared Team MVP honors with sophomore Taylore Peterson for the 2013 season.
Senior Vanessa DiBernardo shared Team MVP honors with sophomore Taylore Peterson for the 2013 season.

Feb. 15, 2014

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - The Illinois soccer team hosted its annual awards banquet on Saturday afternoon at the I-Hotel in Champaign in celebration of its exciting run to the NCAA Tournament Sweet Sixteen in 2013. Head coach Janet Rayfield and the Illini reflected on their fourth trip to the Round of 16 in school history and handed out six different team awards.

Senior Vanessa DiBernardo and sophomore Taylore Peterson shared Team MVP honors. DiBernardo ranked second on the Illini with seven goals while helping Illinois to its best finish in her outstanding four-year career. She finished her career No. 3 on the all-time list with 43 career goals and also tallied a career-high seven assists in 2013, giving her the most career assists (22) in school history. Peterson was a central player in the Illini midfield and totaled over 2,000 minutes. She recorded a goal and two assists along with netting a penalty kick in the NCAA first round shootout. The Portage, Mich., native also assisted on the game-winning goal at Minnesota that clinched a berth into the Big Ten Tournament.

Redshirt-junior Jannelle Flaws was named the team's Offensive MVP after breaking the school record with an NCAA-best 23 goals. 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 and 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.

Redshirt-sophomore Aliina Weykamp took home Defensive MVP honors. Weykamp started all 23 games on defense and played 1,903 minutes as a central figure in the middle of the back line. She also scored the first penalty kick in the 3-1 PK shootout victory at Washington State that sent the Illini to the second round of the NCAA Tournament.

Junior Noelle Leary collected a pair of awards, as she was named Most Improved and the CHAMP Award winner. Leary played in 12 games and made one start, totaling 251 minutes. The Academic All-Big Ten selection earned first career assist and took her first two career shots at Indiana.

The Jeremy L. Daly Award was presented to senior Kristen Gierman, who also was Illinois' Big Ten Sportsmanship honoree. The Jeremy L. Daly Award is given to an Illini player every season for outstanding character and commitment to excellence. It is selected by the coaches and is awarded to the individual who exemplifies excellence as a player, teammate and student-athlete.

The Illini begin spring competition with the annual Orange and Blue 7-vs.-7 Indoor Tournament, held at the Irwin Facility on March 1. UI will head to Dayton for a match on April 13 followed by a pair of competitions on April 18 against Illinois State and April 27 against Wisconsin.

2013 Soccer Banquet Award Recipients
Team MVP: Vanessa DiBernardo, Taylore Peterson
Offensive MVP: Jannelle Flaws
Defensive MVP: Aliina Weykamp
Most Improved: Noelle Leary
CHAMP Award: Noelle Leary
Jeremy L. Daly Award: Kristen Gierman