Women's Soccer
Illinois Returns Home to Clash With Wisconsin-Milwaukee Sept. 1

Nicole Denenberg & the rest of the Illini look to stay unbeaten at home
Nicole Denenberg & the rest of the Illini look to stay unbeaten at home

Aug. 30, 2012

Week 3 Notes | Live Stats

Week 3 Soccer Notes

Game 5: Illinois (2-1-1) vs Wisconsin-Milwaukee (1-2-1)

Monday, Sept. 3 // 1 p.m. CT //  Illinois Soccer & Track Stadium // Champaign, Ill.

Game Coverage

Live Statistics: Here

The Series

Illinois leads the Panthers, 1-0-1 (Last meeting: Illinois 3, UWM 1, 9/20/09, Champaign, Ill.)

Just for kicks


... The Illini have carried over last season’s undefeated success of winning games when scoring first. Illinois is currently 2-0-0 in that instance, following last year’s 15-0-0 showing. 

... After defeating Western Michigan on Aug. 17, the Illini are 8-2 in home openers in the Janet Rayfield era.

... In the opening week of play, junior Kassidy Brown and freshman Nicole Breece both scored their first collegiate goals.

... With the 1-0 win over UC Santa Barbara, senior goalkeeper Steph Panozzo earned her second shutout on the season. Last year, the agile keeper recorded eight shutouts, four shy of the Illinois record set by current assistant coach Leisha Alcia.

2012 Fighting Illini Media Coverage

The University of Illinois soccer squad will receive considerable coverage from local and regional media outlets throughout the 2012 regular season, with live broadcasts of contests featured on the Big Ten Network and the Illini Sports Network - WDWS 1400AM in addition to weekly print coverage in the Daily Illini and News-Gazette. In total, two Illini contests will be featured on the conference’s television network while WDWS will carry a guaranteed seven matches. 

Brian Moline and Tim Ditman will be calling the live play-by-play for the following remaining games: Iowa (9/16), Penn State (9/23), Purdue (9/30), Michigan State (10/4), Northwestern (10/18) and the Big Ten Tournament (11/4) if the Illini advance. 

The Big Ten Network will broadcast two live games from the Illinois Soccer and Track Stadium. The first game aired by BTN will be Sept. 16 when Illinois hosts Iowa at 2 p.m. Then BTN returns to Champaign Oct. 4,  when the Illini welcome Michigan State for a 7 p.m. matchup. 

Illinois on the Big Ten Network

vs. Iowa // Sunday, Sept. 16 at 2 p.m.

vs. Michigan St. // Thursday, Oct. 4 at 7 p.m.

Illinois on WDWS AM 1400

vs. Iowa // Sunday, Sept. 16 at 2 p.m.

vs. Penn St. // Sunday, Sept. 23 at Noon

at Purdue // Sunday, Sept. 30 at Noon

vs. Michigan St. // Thursday, Oct. 4 at 7 p.m.

vs. Northwestern // Thursday, Oct. 18 at 7p.m.


In week two, the Fighting Illini traveled to  California for  a weekend road trip against UC Santa Barbara and  #5 UCLA. 

Last Friday, Illinois topped UCSB 1-0 to earn their first road win of the season. The Orange and Blue grabbed the early lead off of a throw-in around the 10 minute mark. Senior Shayla Mutz scored her first goal of the young season on a header. The tally was her 10th career goal with the Illini. Senior captain Kristen Gierman was credited with the assist after redirecting the ball into Santa Barbara’s box with her head. Gierman earned her first assist and point in her collegiate career.  Steph Panozzo earned her second shutout on the season recording two saves in the game. Illinois remains undefeated against Santa Barbara moving the overall series record to 2-0-0.

On Sunday, Illinois faced their first ranked team  in #5 UCLA and suffered their first defeat in the process, losing 2-0. The Illini stood strong in the first half as they kept the Bruins off of the scoreboard. Illini keeper Steph Panozzo produced a gravity-defying save at the 33rd minute, jumping up and punching the ball over the crossbar to keep the Bruins at bay. Illinois nearly recorded the first goal of the match in the 37th minute when Nicole Breece put the ball in the back of the net but was called offside. After UCLA tallied both their goals in the second period, the Illini was inches away from scoring twice around the 75 minute mark. The Bruins defense cleared two balls rolling on the goal line, one nearly an own goal and the second a shot by Illini senior Shayla Mutz.


The Orange and Blue return home this weekend for one game before hitting the road again for the Wake Forest Invitational the week after. The Illini clash with Wisconsin-Milwaukee on Saturday, Sept. 1, at 6 p.m. CT, at the Illinois Soccer and Track Stadium.

The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Panthers are coming off of one of their best seasons in which they finished 19-3-0. The Panthers won their 12th consecutive Horizon League Championship and made their fourth straight NCAA Tournament appearance. 

Wisconsin-Milwaukee returns six of last year’s starters including seniors Jamie Forbes and Helen Steinhauser. Forbes was voted amongst the top keepers in the Great Lake region while racking up a 0.67 GAA and 11 shutouts, while Steinhauser finished fourth on the team with 13 points on four goals and five assists last season. The Panthers welcome 12 new freshmen to the team, including Sky Perna who was rated as the No. 13 prospeect in the midwest by Top Drawer Soccer. The Panthers look to fill the  offensive void of Sarah Hagen who finished last year with an impressive 61 points on 26 goals and nine assists. 

Greg Henschel enters his first season at the helm of the Panthers squad. He came to Milwaukee from UW-Whitewater where he coached both the men’s and women’s soccer teams. Last season, both gendered squads claimed league titles and NCAA Tournament berths. 

For 2012, Wisconsin-Milwaukee is once again picked to seize the Horizon League Title. In addition, the Panthers also received votes in the Aug. 7 NSCAA preseason poll before falling off of the top-25 radar. 

The Panthers have started the season 1-2-1.  In their opening weekend UWM’s defense and goalie Jamie Forbes did not allow a goal as they downed St. Bonaventure 4-0 and tied South Carolina 0-0 after two overtimes. Last weekend, the Panthers dropped to No. 13 Marquette and Miami (Ohio), snapping a 11 game unbeaten streak at home in the process. 

Illinois currently leads the overall series 1-0-1 over the Panthers. The two programs first met in 2005 where they tied 0-0. However, the Illini did emerge victorious, 3-1, in their last encounter in Champaign in 2009. 


For the second consecutive season, junior Vanessa DiBernardo received a spot on the MAC Hermann Trophy Watch List. She is one of 38 women’s soccer athletes up for the Hermann Trophy, given to one collegiate soccer player of each gender in recognition of their excellence in the sport as the best athlete of that year. 

DiBernardo was also picked as a preseason All-American by Soccer America and was named a Big Ten Conference Player To Watch. Top Drawer Soccer (TDS) recently released their top-100 upperclassmen list with DiBernardo ranked 10th, climbing 62 spots from a year ago. In addition, TDS released their top-20 preseason Big Ten players with DiBernardo and senior goalkeeper Steph Panozzo making the cut.

Furthemore, Panozzo, DiBernardo and junior defender Kassidy Brown were named to the conference watch list by the Big Ten. Finally, Taylore Peterson got in on the action when she was announced as pre-season Big Ten freshman of the year by College Sports Madness.


Senior goalkeeper Steph Panozzo and the starting backline of converted senior defender Shayla Mutz, freshman Tailor Smith and juniors Kassidy Brown and Christina Farrell are off to a solid start. Panozzo has recorded two shutouts through four games, compiling a goals against average of 0.71 and 18 total saves. Panozzo is currently on pace to surpass her season totals from 2011 in which she recorded eight shutouts (12 is the record set by assistant coach Leisha Alcia), 75 saves and a GAA of 0.98.


Freshmen Tailor Smith, Taylore Peterson and Nicole Breece have made the most of their opportunity, infusing new blood into the program right away by starting in all four games this season. Tailor Smith has fit in nicely to the Illini backline, as she is one of four other Illini that have played in all 380 minutes. Taylore Peterson has filled in at the midfield position, registering her first two shots on goal this past Sunday at UCLA. Finally, Nicole Breece has been a strong presence up top, already tallying her first collegiate goal Aug. 19 at Illinois State. 


Illinois head coach Janet Rayfield along with junior midfielder Vanessa DiBernardo are currently lending their skills to the U-20 U.S. Women’s National Team for the U-20 World Cup in Japan. 

In their first match, the U.S. cruised past Ghana with a 4-0 win. In fact, it was the Naperville native’s corner kick in the 20th minute that placed the Americans on the board. In the second match, the U.S. squad tied China PR 1-1. In the final match of group play, the U.S. lost to Germany 3-0, but thanks to a superior goal differential over China, advanced out of group play to the quarterfinal knockout round. DiBernardo has started in every match in the World Cup, playing the full 90 minutes in the first two games. Next up, the U.S. clash with Group C winner Korea on Aug. 31 at Komaba Stadium in Saitama, Japan. Coverage of the match begins at 5:20 a.m. CT on ESPNU and ESPN3.

Finally, Coach Rayfield is updating a weekly blog about her experiences in Japan and it can be found at fightingillini.com.