UI Begins Home Slate with Two Night Games This Weekend
Aug 29, 2013
Home Opener Friday Night
Scouting the Cougars: A familiar face will return to Champaign when College of Charleston comes to town. Head coach Christian Michner spent two seasons (2008-09) as an assistant coach at Illinois under coach Rayfield. Michner, who enters his fourth season at C of C, returned to his alma mater in 2010 after his two-year stint with the Illini. Michner returned six regular starters and 12 total from last season's 7-12-1 team. The team restored the bulk of its offensive firepower as the scorers of 18 of last season's 26 goals are back for the 2013 season. The Cougars are 1-1 on the season after topping Charleston Southern 2-1 in double overtime and falling to North Florida, 1-0.
Local Heroes Night: Friday's game will celebrate Local Heroes Night at the Illinois Soccer Stadium. Fans can meet the police, fire department, ambulance and Illini Service Dogs at the match. Police and ambulance vehicles along with a fire truck also will be available for tours.
In-State Rivalry on Sunday Night
Scouting the Redbirds: Illinois State was selected as the favorites in the Missouri Valley Conference for the second-straight year. After being selected as the favorites last year, ISU finished second to Evansville in the regular-season MVC standings with a 4-2-0 conference record before taking home its second-straight MVC Tournament crown. In 2013, ISU split its first two home matches against teams that made the NCAA Tournament in 2012. Two goals from Kyla Cross and one from Hannah Leinert led the Redbirds past defending Mid-American Conference-champion Miami (Ohio), 3-2, before Leinert scored ISU's only goal in a 4-1 loss to Wisconsin.
Sunday Soccer Fan Zone: At every Sunday home game this year, a special Fan Zone will be set-up with special games for fans one hour prior to the match. Face painting, a juggling contest, penalty kick practice, a radar gun and Bumper Ballz will be available for fans. This Sunday will be the first chance to experience the Fan Zone along with checking out the "farmers market" of community organizations at 5 Rights FC and Community Night. Fans will be able to learn about water, food, health and housing and education needs in Champaign-Urbana. Check out the full list of 2013 promotions HERE.
DiBernardo Called Up to U.S. Women's National Team
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. A two-time All-American for the Illini, DiBernardo has scored 37 goals with 16 assists in 60 career college matches.
The USA-Mexico match will kick off at 7 p.m. CT and will be broadcast live on FOX Sports 1. Fans will be able to follow along on ussoccer.com's MatchTracker and on Twitter @ussoccer_wnt. It will also mark the first international soccer match on the new FOX Sports 1, America's new sports network, which launched on Aug. 17 in approximately 90 million homes.
Last Time Out
In its season opener at Alumni Stadium, Illinois stumbled on the road against No. 10 Notre Dame, falling 4-1 to the Fighting Irish on Friday, Aug. 23. ND netted three goals in the first half, and the Illini's lone goal by freshman Casey Conine in the 66th minute was matched less than a minute later, which proved to be the final score. The Orange and Blue dropped their opener for the first time since 2007.
In a back-and-forth contest at Cardinal Park Soccer Stadium, five different Illini scored goals, capped off by the game-winner from freshman Meegan Johnston that clinched Illinois' 5-4 overtime win at Louisville. The Orange and Blue, who scored the first and final goal on Sunday, Aug. 25, overcame a 2-1 halftime deficit with three goals in the first 15 minutes of the second half, but the Cardinals tied it at four in the 89th minute. The extra period didn't reach four minutes, as Johnston's first collegiate goal gave Illinois its first win in 2013.
Illinois improved to 5-0 in school history against Louisville, as five Illini notched their first goal of 2013. Redshirt-junior Jannelle Flaws (13') put the Illini on the board with their only tally in the first half, while sophomore Nicole Breece (51') evened it 2-2 in the second half. After a penalty kick goal by the Cardinals made it 3-2, senior Vanessa DiBernardo (56') tied it at three and assisted on the first career goal by sophomore Anastasia Medellin (61') off a corner kick. Johnston (94') sealed the victory just 3:29 into the overtime period with a blast into the upper left corner from nearly 30 yards out.