Women's Soccer
Illinois to Embark upon Wake Forest Invitational

Nicole Breece currently leads the team with three points (one goal, one assist)
Nicole Breece currently leads the team with three points (one goal, one assist)

Week 4 Notes | VT Live Stats | Wake Forest Live Stats

Freeman Interview | Mutz Interview | Breece Interview

Week 4 Soccer Notes

Wake forest invitational

Game 6: Illinois (3-1-1) vs #11 Virginia Tech (6-0-0)

Friday Sept. 7 // 4 p.m. CT //  Spry Soccer Stadium // Winston-Salem, N.C.

Game Coverage

Live Statistics: Here

The Series

Matchup will be the first ever meeting between the two programs.

Game 7: Illinois (3-1-1) vs #17 Wake Forest (4-1-1)

Sunday Sept. 9 // 1 p.m. CT //  Spry Soccer Stadium // Winston-Salem, N.C.

Game Coverage

Live Statistics: Here

The Series

Matchup will be the first ever encounter between the two programs. 



... The Illini have carried over last season's undefeated success of winning games when scoring first. Illinois is currently 3-0-0 in that instance, following last year's 15-0-0 showing. 

... The Orange and Blue recorded their first multi-score game of the season in their 3-1 win over Wisconsin-Milwaukee. 

... Illinois has now won its past 74 games when netting three or more goals, dating back to the 1999 season.

... Monday's victory over the Panthers was the 190th win in the program's history.

... A year after securing the second most home wins in Illini history (9), the Orange and Blue are off to 2-0-0 start, recording Rayfield's 75th home win in the process.

... 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.


Thanks to Hurricane Isaac, the Illini had the weekend to rest their legs for the coming week. Finally, on Labor Day, the rain cleared and the Orange and Blue emerged victorious, 3-1, over the visiting Wisconsin-Milwaukee Panthers. 

Thus, Illinois recorded their first multi-goal performance of the season. Nicole Denenberg was the first to strike for the Illini, tallying her goal in the 20th minute. The senior possessed the ball near the goal line on the left side of the Panther's box. After splitting a couple of defenders, Denenberg launched the ball from about 12 yards out, collecting her second career goal and first on the year. 

Taylore Peterson netted her first collegiate goal just two minutes into the second half. Megan Pawloski in-bounded the ball with a flip-throw followed by a well-placed header from senior captain Kristen Gierman, who advanced the ball to a waiting Peterson near the penalty marker. The freshman then blasted the ball to the right side of the goal.

The Illini offense continued to roll when Marissa Holden found the back of the net at the 60-minute mark. In the Panther's defensive third, Nicole Breece passed the ball from the left side of the field, finding Holden in the center of the pitch about 22 yards out. Holden then curved the ball to the upper-90 of the left side of the goal to give the Illini their third and final goal of the game.


The Fighting Illini will conclude the non-conference portion of their schedule this weekend when they participate in the Wake Forest Invitational. The Orange and Blue will take on Virginia Tech on Friday, Sept. 7, at 4 p.m. CT, then meet Wake Forest on Sunday, Sept. 9, at 1 p.m. CT. All games will be played at Spry Soccer Stadium in Winston-Salem, N.C., the home of the Demon Deacons. 

Virginia Tech started the season ranked No. 22, but after an undefeated 6-0-0 start, the Hokies are now No. 11. Virginia Tech has defeated the likes of UNC Wilmington, Richmond, Nebraska, Iowa State, Mt St. Mary's and American. The Hokies are led by red-shirt junior Shannon Mayrose who has achieved seven points on three goals and one assist. Junior forward Jazmine Reeves has been supplying the goal-scoring opportunities so far this season with her team-leading three assists. In addition, junior Ashley Manning and senior Anne Lumpkin have six points each on two goals and two assists.

Caroline Kelly has already made an impact in goal as a freshman, posting four shutouts in the five games in which she started. Kelly has allowed just two goals, which equals a goals against average of 0.39. Finally, Kelly has recorded 16 saves. 

Virginia Tech has outscored it's opponents 14-2, with half of their goals being scored in the first half. Furthermore, the Hokies have outshot their opponents 106-36, have placed 48.1% of their shots on goal and have earned a 46-15 advantage on corner kicks. 

Wake Forest returns all 11 starters from the 2011 College Cup semifinalist squad. They are ranked No. 17 in the country after starting 2012  4-1-1. The Demon Deacons are currently on a three game win streak, downing Charlotte, Princeton and Hofstra along the way. Junior Rachel Nuzzolese, who finished second on the team last year with 31 points, leads this season with six points on two goals and two assists. Senior midfielder Kristen Meier also has two goals but with one assist. Katie Stengel, who led the squad with 46 points and 19 goals last season, is currently serving with the U20 U.S. squad in Japan. 

Junior Aubrey Bledsoe has started all six games in goal, totaling 560 minutes. Bledsoe has achieved two shutouts and a goals against average of 0.64. In addition, she has allowed four goals on the year and has compiled 12 saves. 

Wake Forest has outscored their opponents 10-4, outshot them 99-35 and have earned a 57-18 advantage on corner kicks. In addition, the Demon Deacons have placed 42.4% of their shots on goal.  


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.

Furthermore, 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.


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 five games this season. Tailor Smith has fit in nicely to the Illini backline, as she is one of five starters who has played in all 470 minutes. Taylore Peterson has filled in at the midfield position, registering her first goal vs Wis-Milwaukee on Sept. 3. Finally, Nicole Breece has been a strong presence up top, tallying her first collegiate goal Aug. 19 at Illinois State and her first assist against Milwaukee.


After their 3-1-1 start, Illinois now has six goals from six different Illini players. Two of the goals, which are both game-winners, come from the Orange and Blue backline in the form of Senior Shayla Mutz and junior Kassidy Brown. Furthermore, two of the goals were scored by freshman and were their first as an Illini in Nicole Breece and Taylore Peterson. The final two goals were achieved by two seniors who both netted their second career goals and their first since the 2010 season, in Nicole Denenberg and Marissa Holden


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. 

In the quarterfinal knockout round, the U.S. sent Korea packing with a 2-1 win in overtime. DiBernardo scored her first goal of the tournament in the 52nd minute from an impressive 28 yards out. Next up, the U.S. downed Nigeria 2-0 in the semis. DiBernardo has started in every match in the World Cup, playing 452 minutes of the possible 480. 

DiBernardo, Rayfield and company will now get a rematch with Germany but this time for the World Cup Title. The game is slated for Saturday, Sept. 8, at Tokyo National Stadium. Coverage of the match begins at 5:20 a.m. CT on ESPNU and ESPN3.