The duo of Vanessa DiBernardo and Megan Pawloski combined to tally 16 goals and 39 points to go with six game-winning goals.
Nov. 10, 2010
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PARK RIDGE, Ill. - Illinois women's soccer freshmen Vanessa DiBernardo and Megan Pawloski earned recognition through the Big Ten Conference for their production with the Orange and Blue during the 2010 regular season on Wednesday. DiBernardo received the Big Ten Freshman of the Year Award to go with All-Big Ten First Team honors and a unanimous selection to the All-Freshman Team while Pawloski was also tabbed as a member of the All-Freshman squad. Sophomore Kristen Gierman received the 2010 Sportsmanship Award, an honor given to one athlete on each Big Ten women's soccer team.
DiBernardo tallied 27 points on 11 goals and five assists during her first regular season with the Orange and Blue. Among Big Ten athletes, DiBernardo earned first in goals, points, goals per game (0.61) and points per game (1.50). The Naperville, Ill., natives' points total is five more then the next conference women's soccer player while she also led the Fighting Illini in shots (73), shots on goal (35) and game-winning goals (4).
To open her collegiate career, DiBernardo tallied a goal and assist against Loyola-Chicago in her first collegiate game. DiBernardo followed with a goal each against Wright State and Ball State before earning her first multi-goal game, adding two tallies during the Illini's shutout of Cincinnati. The 5-foot-4 midfielder notched a four-goal performance against Purdue, earning the final three goals of the 4-1 victory in the closing nine minutes of play. This four-goal game is the first such in school history while the second-half hat trick she produced ties the program mark for most tallies in a half.
The Big Ten Conference previously recognized DiBernardo with weekly awards on three occasions this season. The midfielder earned the Freshman of the Week award for the week of Aug. 30 in recognition of her goals against Wright State and Ball State. For the week of Sept. 13, DiBernardo earned Co-Offensive Player and Freshman of the Week awards after scoring two goals against Cincinnati and taking over the conference lead in points and goals. She once again earned Offensive Player and Freshman of the Week on Oct. 4 following her four goal performance against Purdue.
Pawloski earned All-Freshman accolades as a consistent contributor off the bench, notching five goals on 17 shots to go with two assists while seeing action in each of the Fighting Illini's 18 matches. Pawloski finished second on the Illini in points with 12, averaging 1.39 per game played. The Althoff Catholic High School graduate earned her first collegiate point by finding an uncontested DiBernardo with a front flip throw-in, recording an assist on DiBernardo's goal that followed. Pawloski's first collegiate tally came against Cincinnati while the Belleville, Ill., native continued to produce, totaling a goal against Louisville and both tallies during the Orange and Blue's 2-1 win over Indiana.
Illinois (13-4-1 overall, 6-3-1 Big Ten) begins NCAA Tournament action at 5 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 12 against the University of Southern California (12-5-3). The Illini will travel to Notre Dame for the opening rounds, joining the Fighting Irish (15-2-2) and New Mexico (12-2-5) in South Bend, Ind.