Women's Soccer
Illinois Welcomes Northwestern & Nebraska in Final Homestand

Janet Rayfield and company will look to better their 4-3-1 conference record this week
Janet Rayfield and company will look to better their 4-3-1 conference record this week

Oct. 17, 2012

Complete Game Notes

Week 10 Soccer Notes

Game 16:  

Illinois (7-6-2,  4-3-1 B1G)  vs   Northwestern (4-10-2,  0-8-0 B1G)

October 18 //  7:00 p.m. CT //  Illinois Soccer Stadium // Champaign, Ill.


Radio: WDWS 1400AM - Brian Moline and Tim Ditman 

Stream: Student U - Big Ten Digital Network


 Illini lead the series 10-3-3 (Last Meeting: ILL 3 - NW 0; 10/20/11; Evanston, Ill.)

Game 17:  

Illinois (7-6-2,  4-3-1 B1G)  vs   Nebraska (6-9-1, 3-5-0 B1G)

October 21 //  12:00 p.m. CT //  Illinois Soccer Stadium // Champaign, Ill.


Illini lead the series 3-0 (Last Meeting: ILL 3 - NEB 1; 10/23/11; Lincoln, Neb.)


Stream: Student U - Big Ten Digital Network


... Moved to 5-1-0 in games played under the lights.

 ... Have won their past 75 games when netting three or more goals, dating back to the 1999 season.

..Illini have played well at home, earning a 5-1-0 record this season.

... DiBernardo currently leads the conference in shots (53) in Big Ten play while Panozzo tops the conference in saves (41).

... Have yet to suffer a defeat this season when outshooting their opponent (6-0-2)

... Nine of the 16 goals that have been scored this year have been by different Illini.

... Are 3-0 when the team produces at least 2 goals.

2012 Fighting Illini Media Coverage

Brian Moline and Tim Ditman of WDWS 1400AM radio will be calling the live play-by-play for the following remaining games: Northwestern (10/18) and the Big Ten Tournament (11/4) if the Illini advance. 

Student U from the Big Ten Digital Network will produce a live stream for the home games against Northwestern(10/18) and Nebraska (10/21). The games will then re-air on BTN on Oct. 19 at 11 a.m. CT and Oct. 24 at 11:30 a.m. CT, respectively.

Illinois on WDWS AM 1400

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

Illinois on BTN

vs. Northwestern //  Oct. 19 at 11 a.m. CT

vs. Nebraska // Oct. 24 at 11:30 a.m. CT


The Fighting Illini women's soccer team suffered a tough road trip, dropping games to Minnesota and Wisconsin. On Friday, Illinois lost 3-0 to the Badgers then lost 2-1 in double overtime to Wisconsin on Sunday. Illinois moves to 7-6-2 overall and 4-3-1 in Big Ten competition. 

The Gophers netted a goal in the first half and two in the second period to claim victory in the game. Minnesota standout Taylor Uhl tallied five points in the match with two goals and one assist. 

DiBernardo's second shot of the game nearly tied it at one in the 30th-minute but her strike hit the crossbar and the Gopher defense was able to clear and remove the threat. 

Illinois started the second half strong when DiBernardo tallied two shots in the first 90 seconds. The Illini then proceeded to take three corner kicks in the following three minutes, as Kassidy Brown recorded her second shot of the game but could not find the equalizer before Minnesota went on to capitalize on their opportunities for the win

Minnesota finished the night with 13 shots and eight on goal compared to the Illini's 8 shots with three on goal. Furthermore, the Gophers enjoyed a 5-3 corner kick advantage. Also, Steph Panozzo ended the game with five total saves and DiBernardo led the team in shots with five. 

It was a cold, windy and rainy day in Madison, as both squads had to adapt to the slick and wet conditions on the pitch. Holden scored the Illini's lone goal in the 42nd-minute on a play that started with DiBernardo. Vanessa dribbled the ball up the left side of the field nearing the Wisconsin end-line. Her cross was headed away by a Badgers' defender but the ball found Holden's feet about 20 yards out at the top left portion of the box. Marissa took one-touch then struck a left-footed shot that went over the keeper's reach and into the far post.

Yet, the Badgers found the equalizer in the 83rd-minute when they capitalized off of an Illinois turnover in the backfield. Then, 44 seconds into the second overtime period, Cara Walls delivered the game-winner for the Badgers. 

Illinois suffers back-to-back losses for just the second time this season. Illinois and Wisconsin tied in the number of total shots with 15 each. The Illini produced seven shots on goal compared to the Badgers' 10. Also, the two squads tied in the amount of corner kicks earned with five. Finally, Steph Panozzo finished with eight saves in the contest bringing her season total to 66.

Weekly Preview

The Fighting Illini are set to take on the Northwestern Wildcats and Nebraska Cornhuskers this weekend.  Illinois will host the Wildcats on Thursday Oct. 18th at 7:00 p.m. C.T. and the Cornhuskers on Sunday Oct. 21st at 12:00 p.m. CT.  The matches will both take place at Illinois Soccer Stadium. Seniors' Nicole Denenberg, Niki Read, Steph Panozzo, Marissa Holden and Shayla Mutz will be honored at Sunday's game. 

The Wildcats currently hold a 4-10-2 overall record and a 0-8-0 conference mark. Northwestern started off the season strong with two wins over Kansas and Miami (Ohio) but have faltered since.  They are yet to be beat a Big Ten team and have a 2-5-1 record when playing games on the road.

Northwestern is led by junior Kate Allen.  She currently holds the school record for quickest response goals (16 seconds vs Indiana) and was named 2010 Big Ten All-Freshman. This season, Allen leads the Wildcats in goals with six, points with 15 and shot percentage with .143. In addition, Allen was named to the Big Ten's preseason Players to Watch list.

Freshman Rachel Bergman and Sophomore Anna Cassell have split time in the goal for Northwestern.  Bergman currently has 24 saves and a save percentage of .686 while Cassell has 39 saves and a save percentage of .709.  Cassell has started ten games with Bergman starting six.

Northwestern has scored six first half goals, eight in the second and one in overtime. They are averaging 9.9 shots a game with a .415 shots on goal percentage. 

Last season, the Orange and Blue routed Northwestern 3-0 in Evanston. Two current Illini scored in the match in Vanessa DiBernardo and Shayla Mutz.

Nebraska holds a 6-9-1 record overall thus far in the season and a 3-5-0 record within the Big Ten conference.  In their most recent away game, the Cornhuskers beat the Wisconsin Badgers in an overtime battle 3-2. However, Nebraska has dropped their past two games by a combined score of 8-0.

The Cornhuskers are currently being led by Mayme Conroy. The sophomore has a team leading 22 points on the year, 16 more points than anybody else on the squad. Her 22 points are from 11 goals that include one game-winner. Emma Stevens has started 14 games in goal and competed in 15. She has allowed 25 goals, good for a goals against average of 1.69. She has produced 53 saves and two shutouts.  

Last year, Illinois proved too tough for Nebraska, emerging with a 3-1 in Lincoln. DiBernardo was the only current player to tally a goal in the match. 


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. 

Junior defender Christina Farrell and Steph Panozzo were named to the Wake Forest Invitational All-Tournament Team. The duo limited the No. 17 and No. 11 teams in the nation to a combined two goals. 

Top Drawer Soccer (TDS) updated their top-100 upperclassmen list at the beginning of October and DiBernardo still ranks No. 10 in the nation. Also, TDS updated their top-20 players in the Big Ten with Vanessa making the cut on that list as well.

In addition, TDS just released their midseason women's freshmen top 100. Nicole Breece checked in at the No. 28 spot while Taylore Peterson secured No. 47. 


DiBernardo moved up in the Illinois record books after her hat trick performance in the 3-2 win over Michigan State. The Naperville native is now third on the Illinois career scoring list with 31 goals. Tara Hurless (2001-04) holds the top spot with 47 goals. DiBernardo is also now tied for third with Ella Masar (2004-07) in Illinois career points with 74. Hurless once again claims the top spot with 115 points. 


Junior Megan Pawloski currently leads the team with four assists. The Belleville native  has recorded assists in three Illini wins this season, including a multi-assist performance against Iowa. Pawloski last added to her total when she worked a give and go and freed space for DiBernardo's second goal against Michigan State. 


The Orange and Blue are second in the Big Ten in total number of shots in conference play. The Illini have accomplished an impressive 151 shots over eight contests. The Illini have yet to suffer a defeat this season when they have outshot their opponent (6-0-2)


With two three goal games this season that resulted in Illini victories, the Orange and Blue have now won their past 75 games when netting three or more goals, dating back to the 1999 season.


Junior Vanessa DiBernardo currently leads all of the Big Ten in conference competition in shots and shots per game. DiBernardo has tallied 53 total strikes, good for an average of 6.62. Goalkeeper Steph Panozzo also joins her teammate atop a statistical category in Big Ten play. The senior is tied for first in saves with 41.  


The Orange and Blue have scored 16 total goals thus far this season and they have come from nine different players. Vanessa DiBernardo leads the pack with four goals, fueled by her hat trick performance in the win over Michigan State. Freshmen Nicole Breece and Taylore Peterson have made an immediate impact with two goals each. The duo has combined for three game-winners. On the opposite side of the spectrum, seniors Nicole Denenberg and Marissa Holden have accumulated two goals as well. Rounding out the list with one goal each are juniors Kassidy Brown and Allie Osoba, senior Shayla Mutz and freshman Amy Feher.


When the Illini celebrate each year's senior class prior to the final home game, Illinois has come away victorious in all but one of the program's 15 previous seasons. Thus, Illinois is 14-1-0 overall, including a string of 12 straight wins from 1997-2008. In total, the Illini have outscored opponents 41-9. This Sunday, we recognize seniors Marissa Holden, Shayla Mutz, Niki Read, Nicole Denenberg and Steph Panozzo.