Kelly Campbell and the Illini take their undefeated Big Ten record to Ohio State this Friday.
Sept. 28, 2005
Illinois Trends: The Fighting Illini are...
...6-1-2 in their last nine matches
...4-4-0 all-time against Ohio State
...2-2-0 at OSU
...1-3-0 in their last four matches vs. Ohio State
...5-0-0 when scoring two or more goals
...5-0-0 when ahead at halftime
...6-0-1 when scoring first
...1-1-1 on the road this season
Illinois travels to Ohio State for a single game on Sept. 30 at 6:30 p.m. The Buckeyes are one of four Big Ten teams the Illini play at the same site they faced them in 2004, with Illinois falling 3-0 to the then-No. 25 Buckeyes. A win on Friday would give the Illini their first 3-0 start to a Big Ten season in school history.
Scouting the Buckeyes
Ohio State struggled in its first conference weekend, losing to Michigan, 4-2, and to Michigan State, 1-0. The Buckeyes scored first against Michigan, pushing a goal across in the 10th minute. But the Wolverines scored twice before halftime and added two more goals in the second half before OSU scored in the 81st minute. The Buckeyes played a scoreless first half against MSU, but the Spartans scored in the 47th minute and held on for the 1-0 victory. OSU was outcornered 27-7 and outshot 44-21 on the weekend, including a 10-2 corner kick disparity against MSU. For the season, Ohio State averages 13.9 shots per game and has been outcornered 60-47. Friday's game will only be the Buckeyes' second home contest of the season, but opens a five-match homestand.
The Illini opened strongly against both Northwestern and No. 16 Wisconsin, jumping out to early 2-0 leads in each game. Natasha Karniski scored in the 10th minute against the Wildcats after a long serve from Kelly Campbell and a pass by Eva Strickland to stake Illinois to a 1-0 lead. Mary Therese McDonnell scored her first career goal at the 14:37 mark on a rebound off Emily Zurrer's header that bounced off the crossbar after a corner kick. Northwestern scored in the 39th minute to cut the lead to 2-1 at halftime, but Jessica Bayne scored her first goal of the season off a corner kick by Christen Karniski at 47:23. The Wildcats added a goal in the 54th minute but couldn't muster the tying goal as the Illini won 3-2.
Still stuck in a pattern of rain following Hurricane Rita, Illinois faced No. 16 Wisconsin on a sloppy field last Sunday. Illinois took to the seemingly unfavorable conditions, as Bayne scored twice in the first 15 minutes to post an early 2-0 lead. Her first goal came at 4:32 off a pass from Eva Strickland, scoring far post from five yards out. Her second goal seemed to have eyes, as it appeared to be a cross from 20 yards that got by a Badger defender and turned after it hit the ground, hitting the inside of the far post and falling into the goal. But the Illini let Wisconsin back into the game as the Badgers scored in the 46th minute and 63rd minute to tie the match 2-2 and force overtime. The first OT was played mostly in the midfield with neither team gaining an advantage. Only four minutes into the second overtime, Illinois earned a corner kick and Zurrer scored the golden goal on a header off Christen Karniski's serve at the 103:53 mark to take a 3-2 double-overtime decision and begin the Big Ten 2-0 for the first time since 2001.
The all-time series between Illinois and Ohio State is tied 4-4-0, 2-2-0 at each home site. The Buckeyes have had Illinois' number of late, posting a 3-1 record since 2001, but the schools have split the last two meetings with the Illini winning in Champaign in 2003 and falling at OSU in 2004.
Zurrer Named to Team of the Week
Freshman defender Emily Zurrer was honored for her offensive output by being named to Soccer America's Team of the Week for games played Sept. 19-25. Zurrer scored the golden goal in Illinois' 3-2 double-overtime win against No. 16 Wisconsin and had an assist two nights earlier against Northwestern. It was her second goal and second game-winner of the season, both coming off restarts. A week before, she scored her first career goal in the 20th minute against Illinois State.
The last two weeks, Illinois' offense has come alive after a shaky start to the season. The Illini scored two goals against Illinois State in only 44 seconds, the eighth-shortest time between goals in school history. Last weekend, Illinois opened each game with a goal in the first 10 minutes. Natasha Karniski converted a long serve from Kelly Campbell and a pass from Eva Strickland at the 9:05 mark of the Northwestern match, and Jessica Bayne punched in a goal at 4:32 against Wisconsin. Prior to last weekend, the Illini had not scored before the 20th minute of any match this season.
Illini Climb Back Into Rankings
With wins over No. 16 Wisconsin and Northwestern last weekend, Illinois returned to most of the national polls. The Illini now rank 21st in both the Soccer Buzz and Soccer Times polls. They also sit at No. 22 in the Soccer America poll. Illinois is fourth in the Great Lakes regions as ranked by both NSCAA and Soccer Buzz.
Once, Twice, Three...Shoot
After a slow start, Illinois' offense has picked up the scoring punch, mostly because of its increased number of shots and shots on goal. In the last four games, the Illini have averaged 22.75 shots per game and 9.75 shots on goal. That compares to 13.8 shots and 5.3 on frame in the first six games of the season.
Catch Them If You Can
As the offense rounds into form and the defense continues to be one of the best in the Big Ten, Illinois is hard to beat when it gets an early lead. The Illini are 5-0-0 when leading at halftime and 6-0-1 when scoring first. Only Stanford was able to catch Illinois after it grabbed a lead, as the Cardinal tied the Illini 1-1 in the City by the Bay Classic.
Illini Stats Stack Up
Through one week of conference play, Illinois continues to rank in the upper half of the Big Ten in many statistical categories. The Illini lead the league in shots with 174 and are fifth in goals with 17, and scored the most goals (6) in the first weekend of conference play. Illinois also is second in goals allowed (8) and shutouts (5), and leads the Big Ten in corner kicks with 67. Individually, Jessica Bayne is 10th in the league with 10 points, while she and Eva Strickland each rank third with four assists. Emily Zurrer is fourth in the conference with two game-winning goals while Lindsey Carstens is second in shutouts (4) and third in goals-against average (0.76).
More than One is Just More Fun
Jessica Bayne became the third Illini this season to score multiple goals in a weekend and the first to score twice in the same game. Bayne scored in the 5th and 15th minutes against No. 16 Wisconsin and in the 48th minute vs. Northwestern. With her two goals at the City by the Bay Classic, junior forward Eva Strickland became the second Illini forward in as many weeks to score a pair of goals in a weekend. One week after Natasha Karniski scored once in each game against Nebraska and Western Illinois, Strickland pushed across a pair of goals versus Stanford and San Francisco. The goals were Strickland's first tallies since Oct. 24, 2003, and the score against USF was her first career game-winning goal.
That's Me in the Corner
For the first time all season, Illinois allowed more corner kicks than it attempted against Northwestern, with the Wildcats holding a 5-4 advantage. For the season, the Illini have outcornered opponents 67-18. Illinois did not appear disturbed by losing the corner battle against Northwestern, dominting Wisconsin on corner kicks 8-1 in the following game. Corners often give an account of which team is controlling action, but do not always guarantee success. Illinois' biggest corner advantage was against Indiana State, a game the Illini lost despite outcornering the Sycamores 11-0.
Back to Back Jacks
Normally a deliberate team offensively, the Illini showed some explosiveness against Illinois State by scoring two goals within a minute. Freshman defender Emily Zurrer started the outburst with a four-yard putaway off a free kick at 19:30. Sophomore forward Ella Masar followed that up with a score off a restart at 20:14. Two goals in 44 seconds is the eighth-shortest time in between two goals in Illini history.
Orange and Blue Century Club
With the win over Western Illinois, the Illini recorded the 100th victory in program history. Illinois notched its 100th win in only nine years, and Janet Rayfield has recorded nearly half of them, winning 43 games with the Illini. Of the six other Big Ten teams that have won 100 games in their histories, Illinois reached the mark faster than three of them. Only Penn State (six years), Michigan (eight) and Minnesota (eight) reached 100 wins faster than Illinois.
Karniski Within Sight of Record
Senior defender Christen Karniski is on pace to move into the top three on the Illinois career games started list this season. Karniski, who has started all 77 games of her career, currently sits eighth on the list. She would have to start every regular season game this season and two postseason games to pass current record holder Tara Hurless' 86 games started. Karniski and senior defender Kelly Campbell both rank 12th on the career games played list after playing in all eight of Illinois' games this season. Both Karniski and Campbell have played in 77 matches in their career. Hurless also holds that record with 88 games played.
After the success former Illini goalkeeper Leisha Alcia had the past four years, Janet Rayfield and her staff continue to go north of the border for recruits. Freshman defender Emily Zurrer and sophomore midfielder Kristy Weeks both hail from the Vancouver, B.C., area and start for the Illini. Both have international experience as Zurrer played for the U-19 National Team in Thailand in the fall of 2004 and Weeks was a member of the U-15, U-16 and U-17 National Teams.
After attempting to recover from a stress fracture of her tibia since the summer, senior midfielder Paula Faherty has decided to redshirt the 2005 season and return for her final season of eligibility in 2006. While the Illini will miss her leadership in the midfield, the team will look forward to her return in '06.