Junior Niki Read provided the lone goal in last season's
Oct. 27, 2011
Week 11 Soccer Notes
Game 19: #20 Illinois (13-4-1, 7-2-1) vs. Michigan (9-7-2, 4-5-1)
Saturday, Oct. 29 // 6 p.m. CT // Illinois Soccer Stadium // Champaign, Ill.
Live Statistics:Available on fightingillini.com
Michigan leads the all-time series, 11-6-1. (Last meeting: Michigan 3, #16 Illinois 2; Oct. 31, 2010)
Just For Kicks
... scored five or more goals in three straight games for the first time in program history.
... scored five or more goals in four separate games for the first time since 2000.
... has won its last 72 games when scoring three or more goals, dating back to 1999.
... is 11-0-0 when scoring the first goal of the game.
... is 9-1-1 when scoring at least two goals in a contest.
... finished 6-2-0 in non-conference play, the fifth consecutive and 13th overall year Illinois started the Big Ten season with a winning mark.
... produced five consecutive shutouts for the third time in program history and first since 2007.
... won seven straight games for only the second time in program history, tying a record set by the 2004 Illini.
... won four consecutive games by 1-0 margins for the first time in program history (Purdue, Michigan State, Minnesota, Wisconsin).
Fighting Illini Media Coverage
The University of Illinois soccer squad received considerable coverage from local and regional media outlets throughout the 2011 regular season, with live broadcasts of contests featured on the Big Ten Network and the Illini Sports Network - WDWS 1400AM, in addition to print weekly coverage in the Daily Illini and the Champaign News-Gazette. In total, two Illini contests were featured on the conference's television network, while WDWS carried five home matches.
Illinois' home-opener against Gonzaga was broadcast by WDWS and the Illini Sports Network also covered the Orange and Blue's match-ups with USC, Purdue, Minnesota and Wisconsin.
The Big Ten Network aired a delayed broadcast of Illinois' contest at Michigan State on Oct. 8, with the game showing on the network on Oct. 9. The following weekend, the BTN broadcast live from Illinois Soccer and Track Stadium during SoccerFest 2011, as Illinois hosted the Wisconsin Badgers at 3 p.m. on Oct. 16. The Big Ten Student U broadcast three additional contests, in Illinois' games at Penn State on Sept. 25, at Northwestern on Oct. 20 and at Nebraska on Oct. 23, available on BTN.com live.
Illinois on the Big Ten Network
at Michigan State // Oct. 8 at Noon*
vs. Wisconsin // Sunday, Oct. 16 at 3 p.m.
Illinois on BTN Student U
at Penn State // Sept. 25 at Noon
at Northwestern // Oct. 20 at 7 p.m.
at Nebraska // Sunday, Oct. 23 at 1 p.m.
Illinois on WDWS AM 1400
vs. Gonzaga // Friday, Aug. 19 at 7 p.m.
vs. USC // Friday, Sept. 2 at 7 p.m.
vs. Purdue // Sunday, Oct. 2 at 1 p.m.
vs. Minnesota // Friday, Oct. 14 at 7 p.m.
vs. Wisconsin // Sunday, Oct. 16 at 3 p.m.
Last Time Out
The University of Illinois soccer team (13-4-1 overall, 7-2-1 Big Ten) continued its seven game winning streak with a pair of road victories at Northwestern (2-14-1, 1-8-1) and Nebraska (7-9-1, 4-6-0), outscoring the opposition, 6-1, on the weekend.
The Orange and Blue traveled to Evanston, Ill., to face Northwestern on Thursday, Oct. 20, coming away victorious, 3-0, in their fifth consecutive shutout. The Illini took a 1-0 lead on the strength of a Marissa Mykines attempt at the 26:06 mark, Illinois' first shot of the game. Mykines controlled possession outside the Northwestern box and fired a looping strike into the top-left of the goal netting, over the outstretched arms of Wildcats keeper Sam Hatfield.
Vanessa DiBernardo doubled the Illinois lead in the 66th minute on a shot from inside the six-yard box. Niki Read found Julie Ewing racing down the sideline uncontested, with Ewing taking the play to goal before passing across the front of the net to DiBernardo. The Naperville, Ill., native redirected the play with one touch, sending the ball into the right side of the net for her 14th goal of the season.
After recording a total of three tallies over the previous three games, all 1-0 victories, the Illini offense produced as it had earlier in the season, adding a third goal to turn the contest into a rout at the 72:40 mark. Read owned possession near the Northwestern endline and fired a cross to the right post, where Mutz drove a shot into the lower-right corner for the Lockport Township High School graduate's third goal of the season.
Against Nebraska, Mykines gave the Illini a one-goal lead as the Spokane, Wash., native did against Northwestern in the previous contest. During the 29th minute, junior forward Shayla Mutz found Mykines with a throw in 30 yards away from the net. Mykines dribbled across the top of the goalie box, 25 yards up-field, and fired a shot into the top-left corner of the goal for her seventh tally of the season.
Jenna Carosio doubled the Orange and Blue lead 11 minutes later, recording her second goal of the season in the process. Nebraska was called for a foul five yards outside the top of its 18-yard box, with a free kick awarded to the Illini as a result of the play. Carosio stepped up and drilled a shot through a wall of Cornhuskers defenders and past the diving save attempt by Nebraska goalie Emma Stevens for the two-goal advantage.
Morgan Marlborough scored for Nebraska 3:22 into the second half, cutting the Illinois lead to 2-1, while ending the Illini shutout streak at 533:36 consecutive minutes - only 77:32 shy of breaking the program record. After scoreless play for the majority of the remaining time, DiBernardo re-established Illinois' two-goal lead with 3:21 left in the contest. Mutz dribbled down the left sideline and crossed the ball into the box to a waiting DiBernardo, who placed home her 15th goal of the season. DiBernardo's 15 goals and 35 points ties the Naperville, Ill., native with Emily Brown for the second-most goals and points in a single year in Illinois history, with Brown's totals coming in 22 contests during the 2000 slate.
Illinois closes out the regular season at home with "Senior Night" during a Saturday, Oct. 29 contests at 6 p.m. against the University of Michigan. The Wolverines enter the contest at 9-7-2 overall and 4-5-1 in the Big Ten, tied for seventh place in the conference with Ohio State and Purdue.
Sophomore Nkem Ezurike leads the Michigan offense with 10 goals and five assists, totaling 25 points on the season to go with a team-leading three game-winning goals. Clare Stachel follows with 13 points on five goals and three assists while no other Michigan player has earned more than six points on the season.
On defense, Haley Kopmeyer has played every minute in net for the Wolverines on the season, allowing 20 goals on the year. Kopmeyer has played 1,660 minutes of action over 18 games, earning a 1.08 goals-against average while stopping 105 shots for a .840 saves percentage. Kopmeyer has held six opponents without a goal, accounting for five of Michigan's victories and one tie.
As a team, Michigan has outscored opponents, 24-20, and recorded more points, 68-62. Opponents have outshot the Wolverines, 273-267, and placed more attempts on-target, 129-115. Michigan has been called for more fouls, 219-209, and has been flagged for 19 yellow cards, four more than the next Big Ten opponent. Within the Big Ten, Michigan ranks ninth in points and goals and 10th in assists, while the Wolverines are seventh in goals allowed and goals-against average as Kopmeyer ranks first in the conference in saves, accumulating 16 more than the next team.
Illinois and Michigan last met during the Wolverines' senior day on Oct. 29, 2010. Michigan earned a 3-2 victory on the day, with goals from Meghan Toohey, Sarah Stanczyk and Nkem Ezurike; while the Orange and Blue countered with tallies from Laura Knutson and Megan Pawloski. Michigan leads the all-time series, 11-6-1, while the series in Champaign is split at 3-3-1, with the Wolverines victorious, 1-0, in the most recent contest at the University of Illinois, on Nov. 1, 2009.
Nods of Approval
Through 10 weeks, the Illini have been recognized as a talented team among the national and Great Lakes region leaders. After debuting at No. 24 in the official NSCAA poll, the Orange and Blue now sit in the 20th spot overall as a result of the Orange and Blue's current seven-game winning streak, jumping five spaces after defeating Northwestern, 3-0, and Nebraska, 3-1. Illinois is also featured at No. 25 in Top Drawer Soccer's Tournament 64, a breakdown of the squads that Top Drawer Soccer believes will reach the upcoming NCAA Tournament.
While the Illini receive national recognition as a squad, the Big Ten Conference, Top Drawer Soccer, Soccer America and Chicagoland Soccer News have singled out sophomore Vanessa DiBernardo with weekly accolades in honor of Illinois' offensive success. The conference named DiBernardo the Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week on Aug. 22 and Oct. 3, as the Naperville, Ill., native sits among the leaders in the conference in goals and points, while Chicagoland Soccer News followed by naming DiBernardo as its regional player of the week after the same performances. Top Drawer Soccer and Soccer America also added DiBernardo on their respective Team of the Week award listings, the only Big Ten student-athlete to earn both awards following the first weekend series of the season. Top Drawer Soccer and Soccer America have since named DiBernardo to their teams of the week a second time, awarding a spot on both Oct. 3 weekly releases.
Chicagoland Soccer News also noticed the success of other Fighting Illini student-athletes early in the season, with Niki Read taking home player of the week honors on Aug. 29 following her hat trick at Ball State, while Megan Pawloski totaled the same award on Sept. 12. DiBernardo was also recognized as an all-tournament selection for the Illini/Boilermaker Challenge as well as the LSU Invitational, along with Read and Marissa Mykines (Illini/Boilermaker Challenge) and Pawloski and Jackie Guerra (LSU Invitational).
Recently the defense that has been lauded for its success following four consecutive 1-0 shutouts of Purdue, Michigan State in double overtime, Minnesota and Wisconsin. Jenna Carosio earned Big Ten Co-Defensive Player of the Week on Oct. 10 following Illinois' shutout of the Spartans, while Carosio was mentioned as a College Soccer 360 Primetime Performer on Oct. 18, with the Illini taking contests against the Gophers and Badgers in shutout fashion.
Junior goalkeeper Steph Panozzo also received the first conference weekly honor of her career on Oct. 17, earning Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week after shutting out Minnesota and Wisconsin with seven saves combined. Panozzo followed with her second consecutive weekly Big Ten award on Oct. 24, becoming only the second defensive player to earn back-to-back laurels during 2011. Chicagoland Soccer News also singled out Panozzo following her performances against the Gophers and Badgers, naming the Maple Ridge, British Columbia, native the regional player of the week on Oct. 18.
High Octane Offense
Through 18 games, Illini own 121 points on 45 goals and 31 assists - the most points ever recorded through 18 contests during the Janet Rayfield era. The Illini have achieved this feat through consistently scoring goals, while producing tallies in excess on occasion to supplement the total. Illinois earned its most points at this mark in any individual season during the 1998 campaign, when the Illini owned 165 points. Illinois has also topped the 100-points plateau through 18 matches in 1997 (138), 2000 (133), 2001 (113) and 1999 (106). Under Rayfield, the previous best was 94, achieved in 2007 as the Illini made their way to the NCAA Tournament for the fifth consecutive season. As a testament to the Illini's consistent production, Illinois has produced at least one tally in all but one contest this season, the only team in the Big Ten held to fewer than two shutouts on the year.
Among NCAA leaders, the Illini own a tie for 13th overall in the nation in scoring offense (2.50 goals per game), while the Orange and Blue's .750 winning percentage this season ranks tied for 27th in Division-I women's soccer. Individually, Vanessa DiBernardo ranks in the top-20 in five separate categories. DiBernardo is tied for third in game-winning marks (7) and tied for eighth in the nation in total goals (15). The Naperville, Ill., native is also tied for 12th in goals per game (.833), tied for 15th in total points (35) and alone in 18th in points per game (1.94).
Within the Big Ten, the Illini lead all teams with 331 shots and own second for goals scored (45), points (121) and goals scored per contest (2.50). The Illini also rank among the top teams with 31 assists and 1.72 assists per game, good for fifth overall. In Big Ten-only statistics, the Illini also own second in shots attempted (165), are tied for third in goals (17) and goals per game (1.70), sit in fourth for points (50) and are fifth in assists (16) and assists per game (1.60).
Individually, DiBernardo continues to spearhead the offensive push, tying for third in game-winners, with three, while producing the fourth-most assists (4) and sixth-best goals total (6). DiBernardo's 16 points ties the Waubonsie Valley High School graduate for fourth among Big Ten players, while her points per game total (1.60) ranks tied for fifth in conference-only contests.
Where's It Going To Come From?
While Vanessa DiBernardo has led the charge with an Illinois-best 15 goals and five assists, the Orange and Blue offense has maintained a team-wide outburst to record 121 points in only 18 games (6.72 points per game).
Marissa Mykines earned a goal and two assists against Gonzaga to match DiBernardo's four-point output versus the Bulldogs. Mykines then followed with an insurance goal against Toledo, extending Illinois' lead to 3-1 while matching her 2010 season points output of six in the process. Mykines has since surpassed her previous year's points total by contributing a game-tying goal vs. Colorado and an insurance tally against Indiana before recording the game-winning mark in double overtime at Michigan State. Mykines followed with another game-winner at Northwestern before kick-starting the Illini offense with an early goal at Nebraska, bring her season totals to seven goals, two assists and 16 points.
Niki Read began the season strong, producing a goal and assist against Gonzaga before tallying a seven-point contest at Ball State two games later. Against the Cardinals, Read produced a hat trick and an assist to become one of only five Illini to ever record seven or more points in a single game, matching her 2010 points total of 10 in the process. Read has since added five additional assists, one each against Colorado, Oregon, Indiana, Minnesota and Northwestern for a team-leading seven on the year.
Megan Pawloski, a Big Ten All-Freshman honoree one season ago, has surpassed her 2010 statistical impact by producing six goals and two assists for 14 points, highlighted by the Althoff Catholic graduate's game-tying mark against Louisville and multi-goal performance against Oregon.
Shayla Mutz earned the game-winning goal in overtime at Louisville, while adding an assist on a Pawloski goal against No. 13 Pepperdine. Mutz also owns the game-tying strike at Iowa, a header shot in the 68th minute, and assisted on the winning tally against Wisconsin. Mutz was incredibly productive against Northwestern and Nebraska, tallying one mark against the Wildcats before facilitating two goals at Nebraska, bumping her season total to 10 points on three goals and four assists. Julie Ewing, a defender in her first three years at Illinois, follows with a career-best three goals, recording one each against Gonzaga, Toledo and Oregon, while totaling individual assists against Indiana and Northwestern to earn eight points.
Following a year-long recovery from a devastating knee injury suffered in her final high school soccer game, Jannelle Flaws has made an immediate impact off the bench in her redshirt-freshman season. Flaws has seven points on two goals and three assists, notching her tallies against Pepperdine and Ohio State, while contributing assists against Oregon, Iowa and Indiana. All of Flaws' seven points have come during the 11 most recent Illini contests.
The Defense Puts Its Foot Down
After allowing 17 goals through the opening 11 contests the Illinois defense has stamped out opponents over the previous seven games by only allowing two goals (0.28 GAA) en route to a 7-0 record during that span. Five consecutive opponents fell victim to the Illini defense, as Purdue, Michigan State, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Northwestern were all held scoreless by the Orange and Blue defense, before Illinois outpaced Nebraska, 3-1 to reach 7-2-1 in Big Ten play and secure the #2 seed in the upcoming conference tournament.
Prior to setting down Purdue, the Orange and Blue dominated Indiana, 4-1, with the Illini defense holding strong throughout the first half, allowing the offense to find its rhythm and net three second-half goals to create the difference. After giving up a game-tying goal against the Hoosiers in the 48th minute, the Illini defense clamped down to hold opponents scoreless over 553 consecutive minutes of play, only 78 minutes shy of the program record.
Jenna Carosio and Steph Panozzo have spearheaded the recent success as Illinois' center defender and goalkeeper, respectively; each responsible for shaping and organizing the defensive efforts throughout each contest. For Carosio's and the entire defense's efforts, the Novi, Mich., native was awarded the Big Ten Conference Co-Defensive Player of the Week Award on Oct. 10. Carosio also took home College Soccer 360 Primetime Performer honors on Oct. 18, after the senior helped organize the Illini's shutout efforts over Minnesota and Wisconsin.
Panozzo has stepped up her play to help Carosio and account for the reduced goals-against mark, stopping 20 of 22 attempts on net (.909 save percentage) to lower her goals-against average to 1.03 allowed per game on the season, and only 0.67 per Big Ten contest. For Panozzo's success, the Big Ten recognized the Maple Ridge, British Columbia, native's efforts with the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week award on Oct. 17 and Oct. 24, only the second player in the conference to earn back-to-back defensive awards, while Chicagoland Soccer News followed suit on Oct. 18 with its regional player of the week honor.
Senior Day Success
When the Illini celebrate each year's senior class prior to the final home game, the Orange and Blue have come away victorious in all but one of the program's 14 previous season. Overall, Illinois is 13-1-0 in contests held during senior day, including a string of 12 consecutive victories from 1997-2008. In total, the Orange and Blue have outscored opponents, 38-7, during all 14 previous senior day celebrations, while against Big Ten competition specifically; Illinois is 6-1-0 with a 13-4 goals-scored advantage.
During the most recent senior night, when Illinois celebrated the careers of Jordan Hilbrands, Alexandra Kapicka, Laura Knutson, Danielle Kot, Krystin Miller and Christina Sahly, the Illini came away victorious, 1-0, over Northwestern. After 84 minutes of scoreless action, then-freshman Vanessa DiBernardo found then-sophomore Niki Read with a pass near the sideline. Read took the ball on-net and fired a shot into the lower-right corner to secure the victory. Kapicka stopped four shots in net for her 18th career individual shutout and sixth clean sheet of the season.