Junior Emily Zurrer has notched two goals this season and leads the Illini defense into a key matchup against Florida on Friday.
Sept. 12, 2007
Illinois vs. #9 Florida
Friday, Sept. 14 5 p.m.
Illinois Soccer and Track Stadium
Live on the Big Ten Network
Big Ten Leaders: Senior forward Ella Masar and freshman forward Laura Knutson are tied atop the Big Ten individual standings with seven points each. Each has three goals and one assist. In addition, the Illini lead the Big Ten with 3.00 goals per game and rank second with 11 assists and 35 points.
Fantastic Freshmen: This year's freshman class has already made its presence known through the first four games. Forward Laura Knutson has tallied a goal in three consecutive matches and is tied for the team lead with seven points. Midfielder Danielle Kot has started three matches and contributed two assists. Forward Jordan Hilbrands and midfielder Cory Steigerwald have also seen game action.
Illinois faces another tough non-conference test, hosting the No. 9 Florida Gators in the Orange and Blue's final non-conference home match. It marks the second weekend in a row that the Illini have faced a top 25 opponent. Illinois is 4-2 all-time against the SEC, including a 1-0 win over their most recent SEC opponent, then-No. 13 Auburn, on Sept. 10, 2006.
Scouting Florida: Florida returns 10 starters from a 2006 squad that won the SEC, including its two leading scorers in senior forward Stacy Bishop and junior midfielder Ameera Abdullah, both tabbed on the 2007 MAC Hermann Trophy Watch List. Although Bishop and Abdullah, have been quiet so far this season, combining for 10 shots through their first four games, other Gators have stepped up offensively. Senior midfielder Ashley Harris has scored three goals in the last two games to lead the Gators, along with senior forward KeLeigh Hudson, with six points. Sophomore forward Ashlee Elliott has collected four points, including one goal and two assists.
In Unfamiliar Terrirotry: Florida will make its first appearance on the road this season and first-ever visit to the state of Illinois when the Gators travel to Champaign. Although Florida has yet to stray from its home field, the Gators have faced formidable competition through their first four games in Gainesville, Fla., including a loss to No. 2 Notre Dame and a win over No. 9 Florida State.
The Illinois soccer team bounced back from a 4-2 loss to No. 7 UCLA on Friday to earn its second shutout of the season with a 4-0 victory over Cal State Northridge on Sunday at the UCLA Women's Cup in Los Angeles, Calif. Senior forward Ella Masar led the Illini with one goal and one assist, while sophomore forward Courtney Bell contributed two assists. Three other Illini also notched goals, including career firsts for senior midfielder Kara Gostisha and redshirt freshman forward Christina Sahly. Freshman forward Laura Knutson also tallied a goal for the third consecutive game.
In the opening game of the UCLA Women's Cup, the Illini waged a back and forth battled with the Bruins early in the second half. The Bruins held a 1-0 advantage at the break, but an early second-half goal from Knutson on an assist from sophomore forward Chichi Nweke tied the game. After UCLA responded two minutes later to regain the lead, 2-1, junior defender Emily Zurrer pulled the Illini even again six minutes later on an assist from freshman midfielder Danielle Kot. The Bruins added two unanswered goals to seal the win.
DID YOU KNOW?
Ella Masar leads the team with 10 shots and is tied for the team lead with Laura Knutson and Emily Zurrer with four shots on goal. Overall, the Illini have out-shot their opponents, 63-48.
Goalkeeper Lindsey Carstens tied her career high with eight saves against Missouri on Aug. 31. Previously, Carstens has had eight saves twice in her career, including matches against Purdue and St. Louis in 2006.
Through their first four matches, the Illini have netted 12 goals, the most in an opening stretch since the 2004 season when they also notched 12 goals. The highest total through the first four games came in the 1998 season, when the Orange and Blue tallied 17 goals, including a 9-0 win over Louisville.
The Illini have out-cornered their opponents, 17-13, including a 10-6 advantage in the second period. Illinoishas also outscored its opponents, 12-7, overall, owning a 7-1 first-period advantage.