Women's Soccer
Illinois Concludes Regular Season at Mich. on Saturday

Illinois has officially locked a spot for the Big Ten Tournament next week in Indiana
Illinois has officially locked a spot for the Big Ten Tournament next week in Indiana

Oct. 25, 2012

Complete Game Notes

Week 11 Soccer Notes

Game 18:  

Illinois (8-7-2,  5-4-1 B1G)  


#24 Michigan (13-3-2,  7-1-2 B1G)

October 27 //  5:00 p.m. CT //  U-M Soccer Stadium // Ann Arbor, Mich.


Gametracker: http://www.fightingillini.com/gametracker/launch/gt_wsoccer.html?event=1107194&school=ill&sport=wsoccer&camefrom=&startschool=&

Stream: Student U - Big Ten Digital Network


Illinois trails in the series 7-11-1 (Last Meeting: ILL 3 - Mich 2; 10/29/11; Champaign, Ill.)


 ... With their 4-1 win over Nebraska, the Illini have won their past 76 games when netting three or more goals, dating back to the 1999 season.

... Illinois has officially clinched a spot in this year’s Big Ten Tournament, hosted by Indiana.

... DiBernardo currently leads the conference in shots (64) in Big Ten play while freshman Nicole Breece cracks the top-10 in shots per game (3.62) at No. 9.

... 10 of the 21 goals that have been scored this year have been by different Illini.

... Are 4-0 when the team produces at least 2 goals.

... Finished the regular season 6-2 at home.

... Are 7-1-2 when they have outshot their opponent. 

... Goalkeeper Steph Panozzo achieved a new career high of 77 saves, surpassing last season’s mark of 75. 

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: Big Ten Tournament  Championship Game (11/4) if the Illini advance. 

In addition, Saturday’s game against Michigan will be a Big Ten Student U broadcast that will stream on the Big Ten Digital Network. 


The Fighting Illini women’s soccer team went 1-1 in their final home-stand of the regular season. On Thursday, Oct. 18, the Illini were stunned by Northwestern with a last second 2-1 loss. However, the Orange and Blue rebounded on Sunday, Oct. 21, with a 4-1 win over Nebraska on Senior Day. Illinois moves to 8-7-2 overall and 5-4-1 in Big Ten play.

Northwestern converted two goals in the final nine minutes of play to rob a game late in Champaign. Illinois got on the board first in the 17th-minute when Vanessa DiBernardo converted a successful penalty kick. After the Wildcats tied it in the 81st minute, the referee called a hand ball on Illinois that resulted in a game-winning Northwestern penalty kick with four seconds remaining.

However, the Illini bounced back on Senior Day in which Shayla Mutz, Niki Read, Steph Panozzo, Nicole Denenberg and Marissa Holden were all honored. Then it was the seniors who lived up to the day to power the squad to a 4-1 win. Senior Shayla Mutz scored two first half goals with senior Niki Read and junior Vanessa DiBernardo adding tallies in the second period. The performance was Mutz’s second career multi-goal game and 11th and 12th career goals. 


Weekly Preview

While many Illini fans return to Champaign for Homecoming this weekend, the Fighting Illini women’s soccer team will wrap up regular season play on the road in Ann Arbor. Illinois will battle the MIchigan Wolverines on Saturday, Oct. 27, at 5 p.m. CT. 

Michigan is ranked No. 24 in this week’s NSCAA top-25 poll with a 13-3-2 overall record and a 7-1-2 mark in Big Ten play. 

Michigan won their first five games of the season before dropping their first two road games to Cal State Northridge and No. 11 Long Beach State. Then the Wolverines produced a 10 game stretch in which they did not taste defeat going 9-0-1. This past week Michigan was tested against two of the top teams in the Big Ten with No. 4 Penn State and Ohio State. The Wolverines lost to the Buckeyes 3-1 before achieving a 1-1 draw after two overtimes against the Nittany Lions. With one game remaining, Michigan will contest with Ohio State for the two-seed in the Big Ten Tournament. 

Junior Nkem Ezurike spearheads the Wolverine attack with a team-leading 10 goals and 21 points. Freshman Corinne Harris and junior Meghan Toohey both supplement the offense with their 10 points each. Ezurike has also claimed five game-winners this season while Harris and Toohey provide the support with a team-leading four assists each.

Haley Kopmeyer has started all 18 games this season in goal for the Wolverines. The redshirt senior has produced an impressive goals against average of 0.54 to go with her 68 saves and .872 save percentage. 

Michigan has netted 31 goals this season with 13 coming in the first half, 15 in the second and three in the overtime periods. Michigan has also held a 95-81 corner kick advantage over their opponents this year. In addition, the Wolverines are quite accustomed to the referee’s whistle, ranking third in the Big Ten in fouls with 185 and first in yellow cards with 11. 

Illinois and Michigan have met 19 times as the Orange and Blue trail in the overall series 7-11-1. The Illini will search for their first ever program win in Ann Arbor and first win against a ranked opponent this season. The last time the two squads met, the Illini walked away with a 3-2 win in Champaign on Oct. 29, 2011. Current Illinois defender Kassidy Brown tallied two assists in the contest. 

Meanwhile, Illinois enters the contest looking to pick up a big road victory to help their NCAA Tournament resume. The Illini average 16.9 shots per game compared to their opponents 14.0. The Illini have proven to have a balanced attack scoring 10 goals in the first half and 11 in the second for a total of 21. Finally, their 206 shots in Big Ten play rank first in the conference. 



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. 

Vanessa DiBernardo was named Big Ten offensive player of the week for her game-winning hat trick performance over Michigan State on Oct. 4. The weekly honor was the junior’s first of the season. Furthermore, Shayla Mutz was recently recognized as Chicagoland Soccer News player of the week for her two-goal effort in the 4-1 win over Nebraska. The honor was Mutz’s first accolade of the year as well.


DiBernardo continues to climb in the Illinois record book this season. The Naperville native is now third on the career scoring list with 33 goals. Tara Hurless (2001-04) holds the top spot with 47 goals. DiBernardo is also now third in career points with 78. Hurless once again claims the top spot with 115 points. However, DiBernardo does own the top sport in the program’s history for most career shots taken in Big Ten play with 146, and continues to break the record for most shots taken in conference play in a single season, currently with 64 with one game to play. 


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 tied for first in the Big Ten in total number of shots in conference play. The Illini have accomplished an impressive 206 shots over 10 contests. The Illini have been a tough team to beat when they have outshot their opponent, currently 7-1-2 on the year. 

Individually, Vanessa DiBernardo broke the school record when she attempted 11 shots in the 1-0 win over Iowa in Champaign. The junior ranks first amongst all players in Big Ten play in total shots (64) and shots per game (6.40). Freshman Nicole Breece joined in on the action this week as she now ranks No. 9 in conference competition in shots per game with 3.62.


Three has proven to be the magic winning number for the Illini over the course of the program’s history. The Orange and Blue have now won their past 76 games when netting three or more goals, dating back to the 1999 season. Illinois has added three this season with a 3-1 win over Milwaukee, 3-2 win over Michigan State and a 4-1 win vs Nebraska. The number two has also been kind to the Illini this season. The squad is undefeated at 4-0-0 when they score at least two goals. Finally, the number one. Illinois is 7-2-2 in games in which the defense and goalkeeper Steph Panozzo has limited the opposition to one goal or less. In addition, when the Illini are the first to score in a game, the Orange and Blue are 6-2-0.



The Orange and Blue have scored 21 total goals thus far this season and they have come from 10 different players. Vanessa DiBernardo leads the pack with six goals. The junior won Big Ten offensive player of the week for her game-winning hat-trick performance over Michigan State on Oct. 4, then tallied a successful penalty kick against Northwestern, before recording the final goal on Senior Day in a 4-1 win over Nebraska.  The Illinois offense has also been injected with youth in freshmen Nicole Breece and Taylore Peterson, as they have made an immediate impact with two goals each. The duo has combined for three game-winners and three assists. On the opposite side of the class spectrum are seniors Nicole Denenberg, Marissa Holden, Niki Read and Shayla Mutz. Denenberg and Holden have accumulated two goals each this season. Mutz and Read broke out on Senior Day as Shayla netted her second and third goals of the year while Read produced her first. Rounding out the list with one goal each are juniors Kassidy Brown and Allie Osoba and freshman Amy Feher.


Historically, the Illini have found a lot of success on the final day of the regular season in head coach Janet Rayfield’s ten year tenure at the helm. The Orange and Blue are 9-1-0 in final games, with their lone loss occuring in 2009 at Northwestern.