Junior forward Shayla Mutz tallied Illinois' only goal of the team's 2010 NCAA Tournament First Round game against #22 USC.
Nov. 11, 2011
2011 NCAA Tournament First Round Notes
Game 23: #16 Illinois (16-4-2) vs. (RV) Notre Dame (10-7-3)
Sunday, Nov. 13 // 1 p.m. CT // Illinois Soccer Stadium // Champaign, Ill.
Live Statistics: Available on fightingillini.com
Promotions: Inflatables for kids; free admission for the first 150 Illinois students courtesy of the Upper 9D booster club.
Notre Dame leads the all-time series, 1-0-0. (Last meeting: #11 Notre Dame 2, Illinois 0; Nov. 11, 2007)
Opponent Quick Facts
First Round Opponent: Notre Dame
2011 Overall Record: 10-7-3
2011 Big East Record: 6-3-2
All-time vs. Illinois: 1-0-0
NSCAA National Ranking: Receiving Votes
NSCAA Regional Ranking: Sixth (Northeast)
Last NCAA Tournament: 2010; National Champions
Last Meeting: #11 Notre Dame 2, Illinois 0; Nov. 11, 2007
Just For Kicks
... is undefeated in 11 straight games for the first time in program history, eclipsing the previous mark set by the 2003 Illini.
... is 14-0-0 when scoring the first goal of the game and 11-1-1 when scoring at least two goals in a contest.
... is undefeated in each of the 10 contests when leading at halftime.
... 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 73 games when scoring three or more goals, dating back to 1999.
... 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.
Illinois In The NCAA Tournament
Illinois has appeared in 10 NCAA Tournaments during the program's 15 seasons, including the current bid. Overall, the Illini are 9-9-1 in tournament action, reaching as far as the Elite Eight during the 2004 season. Additionally, the Orange and Blue headed to the Sweet Sixteen in 2006 and 2008.
During their first appearance in the tournament, the Illini defeated Xavier, 2-0, in Champaign during the 2000 season before falling to Big Ten Champion Penn State, 1-0, in overtime in the second round. Illinois went on to see first round competition in both the 2001 and 2003 seasons before its longest run through the NCAA Tournament.
In 2004, the Illini downed Rice, 2-0, and #7 Texas A&M, 2-1, during the first and second rounds in College Station, Texas, to earn the right to host the Sweet Sixteen - where the Orange and Blue dropped Nebraska, 2-1. Illinois took to the road again for the Elite Eight, heading to California to face Santa Clara, where the Illini fell, 2-0, to end their magical run.
During 2006 and 2008, the Orange and Blue advanced to the Sweet Sixteen, destroying Southeast Missouri State, 2-0, and Saint Louis, 4-1, to reach the third round in 2006. Two years later, Illinois needed two overtimes to beat Memphis, 1-0, during first round competition, before using penalty kicks to down #13 Missouri in Columbia, Mo., during the second round.
In their most recent appearance, during the 2010 season, the Illini headed to South Bend, Ind., to face #22 USC, where Illinois fell, 3-1, to the Trojans. Current junior Shayla Mutz recorded the lone Illinois goal of the contest on an assist from current senior Marissa Mykines.
Last Time Out
Then-#18 Illinois (16-4-2 overall) earned the 2011 Big Ten Tournament Championship with victories over Ohio State, Michigan State and #11 Penn State to earn the first tournament crown for the program since 2003. The Illini used penalty kicks to move past Ohio State in the quarterfinals after tying, 1-1, through double overtime. Illinois then proceeded to down Michigan State in overtime, 1-0, and the Nittany Lions, 2-1, during extra minutes to earn the title.
Against the Buckeyes (10-8-2), Vanessa DiBernardo tallied the lone regulation goal for the Orange and Blue, while junior goalkeeper Steph Panozzo stopped two Buckeye penalty kicks to secure the win. With the tie, Illinois secures the longest unbeaten streak in program history after setting the consecutive wins mark against Michigan in the final regular season contest. DiBernardo equalized the contest with time running down in the first half for Illinois. Ohio State employed a physical style throughout the opening 45 minutes, being called for 13 fouls as a result. Following the final penalty of the half, which occurred 25 yards up-field from the left post of the Buckeye goal, DiBernardo stepped up and drilled a shot into the left side of the net, past the outstretched arms of Buckeyes goalkeeper, Katie Baumgardner, with two minutes left in the opening stanza.
Against Michigan State (14-6-1), Panozzo came up clutch with seven saves, a new career-high, to allow the Illini offense the time it needed to break down Michigan State's defensive formation. For the third straight contest between the Illini and the Spartans, Illinois secured a one-goal victory, with Marissa Mykines providing the tally less than three minutes into overtime. Mykines controlled possession outside the Michigan State 18-yard box and dribbled across the front of the goal before finding a small opening in the Spartans' defense. With Michigan State leaving a tiny shooting window, Mykines sized up a cross-body attempt, firing a right-footed shot into the lower-left corner of the net.
Against #11 Penn State (19-4-0), senior midfielder Julie Ewing connected in the opening minutes, while sophomore midfielder DiBernardo scored in overtime to secure the automatic bid to the upcoming NCAA Tournament. In the 93rd minute, DiBernardo controlled a pass from junior midfielder Nicole Denenberg and placed a shot into the lower-left corner of the goal netting to send the Illini away from Northwestern's Lakeside Field undefeated in their previous 11 contests. Following the victory, Panozzo earned Defensive Player of the Tournament honors, while Mykines was named the tournament's top offensive performer. DiBernardo, Panozzo and Mykines were each selected to the all-tournament team as well.
Illinois faces the defending National Champions, the Notre Dame Fighting Irish, when the Illini host the first NCAA Tournament contest at Illinois Soccer Stadium since the 2004 Sweet Sixteen. The Irish enter the contest at 10-7-3 overall after earning a 6-3-2 mark in Big East play and reaching the semifinals of the conference postseason tournament.
The Fighting Irish offense is sparked by 2010 MAC Hermann Trophy runner-up Melissa Henderson, who owns 44 points on 18 goals and eight assists during 2011. Henderson, who also earned First Team All-America, First Team All-Region and Big East Offensive Player of the Year last season, leads Notre Dame in every attacking statistics, with the most goals, points, assists, shots and shots on goal, and the highest shot and shots on goal percentages, while also tallying a team-high four game-winning goals.
The Irish have three additional players with double-digit points totals on the season, with Adriana Leon following Henderson with 17 points on six goals and five assists. Lauren Bohaboy (6 G, 3 A, 15 P) and Jessica Schuveiller (6 G, 2 A, 14 P) round out the group of constant offensive contributors.
The Fighting Irish have employed three goalkeepers during the current campaign, with Maddie Fox leading the way with 1,427 minutes over 16 games. Fox owns a 0.82 goals-against average, allowing 13 goals while stopping 56 shots for a .812 saves percentage. Fox also leads the Irish with an 8-4-3 record as a junior. Sarah Voigt follows Fox with the remaining five decisions, going 2-3-0 on the season. Voigt allowed nine goals in 428 minutes for a 1.89 goals-against average, only stopping 11 shots for a .550 saves percentage. Jennifer Jasper has played the remaining 10 minutes on the season, giving up one goals while stopping two shots.
Notre Dame has outscored opponents, 44-23, while recording a 133-68 points advantage. The Irish also own an advantage in shots, 398-210, and shots on goal, 170-93, while tallying more corner kicks, 119-76. Opponents have been called for more fouls, 173-140, and recorded more saves, 126-70.
In the only contest between the Illini and Notre Dame, the Fighting Irish came away victorious, 2-0, during the 2007 NCAA Tournament Second Round. The Irish notched the first goal of the game in the 27th minute and added another just before halftime. Despite holding Notre Dame to only one on-target shot in the second frame, the Illinois offense was unable to break through, falling to the #11-nationally ranked team as a result.
Nods of Approval
Through 12 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 16th spot overall as a result of the Orange and Blue's current eight-game winning streak, jumping five spaces after defeating Northwestern, 3-0, and Nebraska, 3-1, before bumping up two more after ending Michigan's season with a 3-2 victory on "Senior Night." Illinois is also featured at No. 13 in Soccer America's weekly standings and No. 16 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.
After finishing second in the conference during the regular season, select Illini players received a multitude of accolades from the Big Ten. Carosio took home Defender of the Year and First Team All-Big Ten, while DiBernardo earned Midfielder of the Year and joined Carosio on the conference first team. Jannelle Flaws and Stephanie Pouse totaled Big Ten All-Freshman Team laurels, while Marissa Mykines was named a Second Team All-Big Ten honoree. Furthermore, as recognition of her ability to adapt and make the most out of the talents of her squad, head coach Janet Rayfield received the Big Ten Coach of the Year award for the first time during Rayfield's ten-year career with the Orange and Blue.
Following Illinois' Big Ten Tournament Championship run, three Illini received acclaim for their play over the three-game stretch. DiBernardo, Panozzo and Mykines each earned all-tournament accolades, while Mykines and Panozzo tallied offensive and defensive MVP, respectively.
High Octane Offense
Through the Big Ten Tournament Championship victory over #11 Penn State, the Illini own 140 points on 52 goals and 36 assists - the most points ever recorded through 22 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 161 points over the 20-game season. Illinois has also topped the 100-points plateau in 2000 (158 points), 2001 (113), 1999 (133), 2004 (115), 2007 (112), 2006 (111), 2003 (110) and 1997 (107). Under Rayfield, the previous best was the 115 points earned in 2004 as the Illini made their way to the NCAA Tournament Elite Eight. As a testament to the Illini's consistent production this season, Illinois has produced at least one tally in all but a single contest this season, the only team in the Big Ten held to fewer than two shutouts this year.
In the most recent NCAA leaders update, through games of Nov 6, the Illini own the 20th overall spot in the nation in scoring offense (2.36 goals/game), while the Orange and Blue's .773 winning percentage this season ranks 21st in Division-I women's soccer. Individually, Vanessa DiBernardo stands among the top-25 in five separate categories. DiBernardo is tied for third in game-winning marks (8) and 14th in total goals (18). The Naperville, Ill., native is also tied for 14th in goals per game (0.810) and total points (39), while earning 21st in points per game (1.86).
Within the Big Ten, the Illini placed among the top-two in a cluster of major offensive statistics, taking first in shots (391), and second in points (140) and goals (52), while ranking third in goals per game (2.36), tied for third in shutouts (8) and tied for fourth in assists (36) and standing alone in fifth in assists per game (1.59). Within Big Ten play specifically, Illinois finished in the top-5 in shots (2nd, 181), goals (t-2nd, 20), goals per game (t-2nd, 1.82), fewest goals allowed (t-2nd, nine), goals against average (3rd, 0.78), points (3rd, 58), assists (t-4th, 18) and assists per game (t-4th, 1.82).
Individually, goalkeeper Steph Panozzo heightened her play during Big Ten contests, earning the second-most shutouts (4) and third-best goals-against average among conference goalies (0.79). Vanessa DiBernardo again sparked the offense throughout the majority of Big Ten play, finishing in the top-10 in every major offensive category with 16 points on six goals and four assists.
Avoiding The Sophomore Slump
After leading the Big Ten with 11 goals and five assists during her freshman season a year ago, now-sophomore midfielder Vanessa DiBernardo exceeded expectations set following the immediate adjustment to the college game, recording 39 points on 17 goals and five assists in 2011. DiBernardo tallied four multi-goal games and 14 multi-point performances; recording at least one point in 17 of the 21 games she played in.
With 40 games of college soccer over the previous two seasons, DiBernardo owns 28 goals and 10 assists, giving the Waubonsie Valley graduate 66 career points - the fifth-most for an individual Illini ever. DiBernardo also ranks in the career top-10 in goals (fifth) and game-winners (12, t-third). Individually, DiBernardo's 2011 season stands as one of the most dominant in program history, with DiBernardo's eight game-winning goals being the most in Illinois history in an individual season. Also, DiBernardo's 17 goals and 39 points ranks as the second-highest totals in an individual year for the Orange and Blue.
Where's It Going To Come From?
While Vanessa DiBernardo has led the charge with an Illinois-best 17 goals and five assists, the Orange and Blue offense has maintained a team-wide outburst to record 140 points in only 22 games (6.36 points per game). In the process, Illinois has six different student-athletes in double-digits for points on the season, the most since the 2000 campaign had seven.
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 to earn tallies in back-to-back games. During Big Ten Tournament play, Mykines added a game-winner in overtime when Illinois faced Michigan State; the second time in 2011 Mykines sent the Illini out victorious in extra time against MSU, and produced an assist in the championship game to reach 19 points on eight goals and three assists.
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.
Julie Ewing, a defender in her first three years at Illinois, follows with a career-best five goals, recording one each against Gonzaga, Toledo, Oregon, Michigan and #11 Penn State, while totaling individual assists against Indiana and Northwestern to earn a career-best 12 points.
Shayla Mutz earned the game-winning goal in overtime at Louisville, while adding an assist on a Pawloski goal against #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 and another against #11 Penn State in the Big Ten Tournament, bumping the junior forward's totals to 11 points on three goals and five assists.
Following a year-long recovery from a devastating knee injury suffered in her final high school game, Jannelle Flaws, a 2011 Big Ten All-Freshman Team selection, has made an immediate impact mainly off the bench in her redshirt-freshman season. Flaws has nine points on three goals and three assists, notching her tallies against Pepperdine, Ohio State and Michigan, while contributing assists against Oregon, Iowa and Indiana. All of Flaws' nine points have come during the 12 most recent Illini contests, including the mark against Michigan in her first collegiate start.
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 11 games by only allowing six goals (0.48 GAA) en route to an 10-0-1 record during that span. Five straight 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 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.
Since facing Nebraska, the Orange and Blue triumphed over Michigan, 3-2, during "Senior Night" before triumphing over a trio of tough opponents in the Big Ten Tournament. To earn the 2011 championship, Illinois fought past Ohio State on penalty kicks after drawing, 1-1, through two overtimes, earned a 1-0 overtime victory against Michigan State and capped off the tournament with a 2-1 overtime win against #11 Penn State.
Jenna Carosio and Steph Panozzo 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 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. After leading the Illini defense to its second-half resurgence, Carosio was recognized by the Big Ten Conference with the Defender of the Year honor and First Team All-Big Ten accolades, while first-year defender Stephanie Pouse tallied All-Freshman Team laurels.
Panozzo has stepped up her play to help Carosio and account for the reduced goals-against mark, stopping 36 of 42 attempts on net (.857 save percentage) to lower her goals-against average to 1.01 allowed per game on the season. For Panozzo's success, the Big Ten recognized the Maple Ridge, British Columbia, native's efforts with Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week awards 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. To cap off the success, Panozzo took home the defensive MVP honors of the Big Ten Tournament, holding three of the most lethal attacking units in the Big Ten to only two goals, while coming up especially clutch against Michigan State with a career-best seven saves.
Though sophomore forward Megan Pawloski does not shoot often, only totaling 22 shots over 22 games on the current season, Pawloski owns six goals among her 11 on-target shots - good for a 54.5 percent conversion rate, the highest among all Illini. Pawloski recorded a pair of goals at Oregon after recording a lone tally against #14 Pepperdine, totaling a mark on each of her three attempts on the weekend. Pawloski also has individual goals against Louisville, Indiana and Wisconsin, with the goal against the Badgers being the game-winner. Pawloski's sophomore performances are on par with her freshman season debut, with Pawloski's career totals standing at 11 goals on 21 on-target shots (52.4%).
For the second consecutive season, junior forward Niki Read led the Illini in assists, accumulating seven during the 2011 regular season - the most for a single Illini since Chichi Nweke totaled seven during the 2007 season. For her career, Read now owns nine goals and 15 assists for 33 total points, with the Lake Orion, Mich., native's four goals and seven assists each setting single-season personal records. Read recorded her first assist of the season in the season-opening win over Gonzaga, adding additional assists against Ball State, Colorado, Oregon, Indiana, Minnesota and Northwestern.
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.
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 // W, 1-0 (2OT)
vs. Wisconsin // W, 1-0
vs. Michigan State // W, 1-0 (OT)
vs. Penn State // W, 1-0 (OT)
Illinois on BTN Student U
at Penn State // L, 0-1
at Northwestern // W, 3-0
at Nebraska // W, 3-1
vs. Ohio State // T, 1-1
Illinois on WDWS AM 1400
vs. Gonzaga // W, 5-1
vs. USC // L, 1-3
vs. Purdue // W, 1-0
vs. Minnesota // W, 1-0
vs. Wisconsin // W, 1-0