Natasha Karniski and the Illini travel to the Big Ten Tournament where they face Minnesota Thursday in the first round.
Nov. 2, 2005
Illinois meets Minnesota in the #4/#5 match-up at the Big Ten Tournament on Thursday in Ann Arbor, Mich. The Illini look to take advantage of a rare chance at retribution, hoping to draw from a 2-1 loss at Minnesota on Oct. 9.
Illinois Trends: The Fighting Illini are...
...9-6 all-time in the Big Ten Tournament
...5-2 in the Big Ten Tournament under Rayfield
...8-0-0 when scoring two or more goals
...6-1-0 when ahead at halftime
...9-1-1 when scoring first
Scouting the Golden Gophers
Since beating Illinois 2-1 on Oct. 9, Minnesota has lost three of its last four games and enters the Big Ten Tournament with a 9-7-2 record, 6-4-0 in the conference. The Golden Gophers lost three 1-0 matches to Ohio State, Michigan State and Penn State in the last two conference weekends. Lindsey Schwartz leads Minnesota with six goals and five assists and Becky Dellaria is second on the team with four goals. As a team, Minnesota has allowed the fewest goals (7) in conference play, but has also scored the fewest goals (9). Goalkeeper Molly Schneider has seven shutouts on the season and a 0.83 GAA, including four shutouts and a 0.65 GAA in conference play.
Illinois vs. Minnesota All-Time
Illinois leads 5-4-0
9/26/97 L, 0-1 Champaign, Ill. 10/18/98 L, 1-3 Minneapolis, Minn. 9/17/99 W, 2-1 (2 OT) Champaign, Ill. 9/17/00 W, 2-0 Minneapolis, Minn. 9/28/01 L, 0-2 Minneapolis, Minn. 10/6/02 W, 5-2 Champaign, Ill. 10/5/03 W, 3-1 Minneapolis, Minn. 10/1/04 W, 4-0 Champaign, Ill. 10/9/05 L, 1-2 Minneapolis, Minn.
Illinois in Big Ten Tournament
The Illini are 9-6 all-time in the Big Ten Tournament, winning the 2003 tourney without allowing a goal. Illinois has lost in the first round only one time, its inaugural appearance in 1998. The Orange and Blue are appearing in their eighth straight Big Ten Tournament, with 1997, the program's first year, standing as the only season Illinois did not reach the postseason.
Tourney Brings Out Illini's Best
Regardless of their regular season record, Janet Rayfield's Illini teams have won at least one postseason game in all three of her seasons. In 2002, Rayfield's first squad took out No. 11 Penn State, 4-3, in the first round of the Big Ten Tournament before bowing out to Wisconsin. Her 2003 team tore through the tourney without allowing a goal, winning three games each 2-0 on its way to the program's first Big Ten Tournament title. The 2004 Illini also beat Northwestern in the first round before falling to Penn State.
Illini a Tough Out
In its seven Big Ten Tournament appearances, Illinois has advanced to at least the second round six times, posting a 6-1 first-round record. The Illini's only loss was in 1998 to top seed and eventual champion Penn State, a 1-0 decision.
Follow the Action
Gametracker for each Illinois game at the Big Ten Tournament will be available on fightingillini.com, and live updates from every tournament game can be found at bigten.org. Sunday's championship game can be seen live on CSTV at 11 a.m. (CST).
Illinois took the lead just before halftime and fought through a period in which it appeared to lose intensity to take a 4-1 win against Iowa on Senior Night. Jessica Bayne got the Illini on the board in the 44th minute, drilling a shot far post from 14 yards out off a pass from Kara Gostisha to give Illinois a 1-0 lead. Ella Masar wasted no time after halftime, taking a pass off the opening kickoff and racing down the right side of the Hawkeye defense before hitting a shot far post from 15 yards at 45:11. It was the fastest goal to start any period in Illinois history. Iowa put up a goal in the 63rd minute, but the Illini retaliated with a pair of goals in the 84th minute. Charlotte Cooke scored her second career goal off a feed from Jessica Levitt after Levitt drew out the Iowa keeper at 83:01. Kelly Campbell scored her second goal of the year when she put in her own rebound off a missed penalty kick at 83:42 to give the Illini their final 4-1 margin.
Karniski Near Career Starts Record
With at least one game left in the season, senior defender Christen Karniski has a chance to break the career games started record. Karniski, who has started all 85 games of her career, is currently second on the list behind Tara Hurless, who started 86. She has to start Thursday's game and one more postseason game to break Hurless' mark. Senior defender Kelly Campbell is now third on the games started list with 83, and could also surpass Hurless' 86 games if the Illini make a deep postseason run. Karniski is now in third place on the games played list with 85 and Campbell's 84 games played place her sixth. Natasha Karniski currently sits seventh on the games played list with 83. Hurless also holds that record with 88 games played.
Illini Iron Women
Illinois' lineup throughout games this season has been remarkably steady, with eight Illini playing at least 70 percent of the team's minutes this season. Defenders Christen Karniski (1,713 minutes - 100 percent), Mary Therese McDonnell (1,698 - 99 pct.), Emily Zurrer (1,641 - 96 pct.) and Kelly Campbell (1,552 - 91 pct.) lead the way, giving Illinois a dependable back line. Goalkeeper Lindsey Carstens played all but five minutes before breaking her fibula at Purdue, and midfielder Marti Desjarlais has played 74 percent of the minutes in her freshman season. Forwards Eva Strickland (76 pct.) and Jessica Bayne (71 pct.) round out the Illini who have played more than 70 percent of Illinois' minutes this season.
Campbell's Injury Soup
Defender Kelly Campbell has overcome a barrage of injuries in her final season. Campbell suffered a broken nose and concussion during practice before the first home match against Nebraska. She then rebroke her nose at Penn State when a ball ricocheted and smacked her in the face. Campbell has also suffered a sprained knee and broken finger throughout the season. Amazingly, she has played all but 160 minutes this season, missing only one start.
Carstens Out for Season
Sophomore goalkeeper Lindsey Carstens will miss the rest of the season after suffering a broken fibula at Purdue. The injury resulted on the Boilermakers' first goal when Carstens challenged Purdue's Lauren Sesselmann, who ended up heading in the goal. Carstens initially appeared to grasp her ankle, but the true injury was determined after further examination. Up to that point, the West Chester, Ohio, native had been solid in her first season in goal for the Illini, racking up a 0.99 GAA in 1,540 minutes. She will be replaced by senior Rachel Frank, who has played in 174 minutes over three games so far this season, giving up three goals on eight shots on goal.
Nifty Fifty for Rayfield
Illini coach Janet Rayfield recorded her 50th win at Illinois in the Orange and Blue's 1-0 win at Indiana on Oct. 21, in only her fourth season at the helm. She became the winningest coach in the short history of the program last season with her 39th win but continues to build her legacy. The victory over Michigan on Oct. 14 was Rayfield's 20th Big Ten win in less than four seasons. She currently has a career record of 95-90-15.
Who is That Masked Woman?
Since she donned a clear face-mask to protect her twice-broken nose, defender Kelly Campbell's scoring output has risen dramatically. Campbell has scored twice in two weekends, her first goals since her freshman year. She dashed Indiana's hopes of a major upset with her game-winning goal in Illinois' 1-0 win Oct. 21. It was Campbell's second career goal, both of which have been game-winners. She also scored against Iowa, punching in the rebound off her own missed penalty kick.