Women's Soccer
NCAA Tournament First Round Notes: Illinois at #21 Washington State

Senior Vanessa DiBernardo and the Illini will open the NCAA Tournament in Pullman, Wash., with a first round game against No. 21 Washington State on Saturday at 3 p.m. CT.
Senior Vanessa DiBernardo and the Illini will open the NCAA Tournament in Pullman, Wash., with a first round game against No. 21 Washington State on Saturday at 3 p.m. CT.

Nov. 13, 2013

 Game 21: Illinois (10-8-2) at #21 Washington State (14-3-3)
 Date Saturday, Nov. 16, 2013
 Time 3 p.m. CT (1 p.m. PT)
 Location Lower Soccer Field | Pullman, Wash.
 Live Stats Gametracker
 Live Stream Watch
 Series History Illinois leads 1-0
 Last Meeting Illinois won 2-1 in Knoxville, Tenn. (9/5/08)

 NCAA Tournament Links
 Tournament Central NCAA Tournament Central
 Ticket Information Online or at WSU Athletic Ticket Office (1-800-GO-COUGS)
$7 (Adults), $3 (Youth, Student, Senior Citizen)
 Bracket Printable Bracket | Interactive Bracket
 Preview Interviews Coach Rayfield | Jannelle Flaws | Vanessa DiBernardo
 Social Media @IlliniSoccer   |  Facebook | Instagram
 Game Notes Illinois | Washington State

Illinois is...
...making its 12th NCAA Tournament appearance
...10-11-2 in NCAA Tournament games
...7-3-1 in NCAA Tournament first round games
...in the NCAA Tournament for the fourth year in a row
...one of eight Big Ten teams in the NCAA Tournament
...playing Washington State for the second time ever
...playing in the state of Washington for the first time ever
...traveling the farthest distance (1,932 miles) of any NCAA team in the first round
...second in the Big Ten with 49 goals (T-20th in NCAA)
...led by Big Ten Forward of the Year Jannelle Flaws' 21 goals (UI Record, T-3rd in NCAA)
...10-4-0 when scoring more than 2 goals
...6-0-1 when leading at halftime & 7-1-2 when scoring first
...4-4-2 in day games this year

NCAA First Round Preview: WSU
NCAA Tournament Opener: For the fourth consecutive season, the Illinois women's soccer team was selected to play in the NCAA Tournament after earning an at-large bid. The Illini will travel to Pullman, Wash., to take on No. 21 Washington State in the first round on Saturday, Nov. 16 at 3 p.m. CT. Illinois, which finished 10-8-2 and tied for fifth in the Big Ten at 5-5-1, will make its 12th appearance all-time in the NCAA Tournament and 10th appearance under head coach Janet Rayfield. The winner of Saturday's game will advance to play the winner of Seattle and Portland in the second round.

Series History vs. Washington State: Illinois is 1-0 all-time against Washington State. The Illini defeated the Cougars 2-1 in Knoxville, Tenn., on Sept. 5, 2008. In that game, freshman forward Marissa Mykines notched her first collegiate goal and sophomore midfielder Cory Steigerwald added the game-winner as the Illini topped WSU at the First Tennessee Lady Vol Classic.

Scouting the Cougars (RPI: 18): No. 21 Washington State will carry a five-game winning streak into the postseason after wrapping up the regular season with a 14-3-3 overall record. WSU, which finished second in the Pac-12 at 7-3-1 behind UCLA (9-0-2), only allowed 11 goals all year, tying for the eighth-fewest in the nation. The Cougars blanked 14 opponents and own the No. 5 shutout percentage in the NCAA at 0.700. Second-year head coach Keidane McAlpine was named Pac-12 Conference Coach of Year following the Cougars' highest conference finish in the Pac-10/12 era. Forward Micaela Castain was named Pac-12 Player of the Year after leading the conference with 11 goals and a school-record 11 assists.

Ticket Information: Tickets for Saturday's game at Lower Soccer Field between Illinois and Washington State are on sale online or at the WSU Athletic Ticket Office. Tickets are $7 for adults and $3 for youth, students, and senior citizens. General event parking is available in the Yellow 1 Beasley Coliseum south lot (parking in this lot is free on Saturday).

NCAA Tournament History
Illinois is making its 12th appearance in the NCAA Tournament in the program's 17th season. Overall, the Illini are 10-11-2 in tournament action, advancing as far as the Elite Eight during the 2004 season. The Orange and Blue also reached 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 No. 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 downed Nebraska, 2-1. Illinois hit 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, dominating 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 No. 13 Missouri in Columbia, Mo., during the second round. UI fell to eventual national champion North Carolina in the Sweet Sixteen.

After an opening-round exit at the hands of No. 22 USC in 2010, Illinois sent Notre Dame packing with a 1-0 shutout victory in the first contest of the 2011 version, the first time a defending national champion squad was bounced from the tournament in the opening round. Illinois then fell to No. 4 Oklahoma State in the second round, 1-0. Last season, Illinois advanced past Missouri in a shootout before falling to eventual national champion North Carolina in the second round. This year's senior class will play in the postseason tournament for the fourth year in a row and is 1-3-1 during their career.

Record 8 Big Ten Teams Make NCAAs
The Illini were one of a conference-record eight Big Ten women's soccer teams to earn a bid into the 2013 NCAA Division I Women's Soccer Championship. Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, Ohio State and Penn State all earned berths to the national tournament, breaking the previous record of six Big Ten teams that occurred in 1998, 2002 and 2010.

Champaign to Pullman: 1,932 Miles
The Illinois women's soccer team will make the longest first round trip of all 64 NCAA Tournament teams. The Illini will make the trek from Champaign, Ill., to Pullman, Wash., which is a total distance of 1,932 miles. The next two longest trips are Duke heading to Colorado College (1,420 miles) and Utah going to Texas A&M (1,117 miles).

Last Time Out
On a cold and rainy Wednesday that forced play to the Campus Recreation turf fields at the corner of First and Stadium Drive, Illinois came up short against Indiana, 5-3, in the Big Ten Tournament quarterfinal. The Illini received goals from senior Vanessa DiBernardo, Big Ten Forward of the Year Jannelle Flaws and senior Kassidy Brown, but the defense could not sustain the Hoosier attack.

Flaws Named Big Ten Forward of Year
University of Illinois forward Jannelle Flaws was named Big Ten Forward of the Year following her record-breaking season and was a unanimous first-team All-Big Ten selection. The Glenview, Ill., native is the first Illinois soccer player to be selected as Big Ten Forward of the Year since the conference began honoring the top player at each position in 2011 and became the sixth Illini to garner one of the conference's top individual awards. Vanessa DiBernardo (Midfielder of the Year) and Jenna Carosio (Defender of the Year) were the last Illini to earn the conference's top honor at their position in 2011. Former Illini Ella Masar earned the Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year and Emily Zurrer was the Big Ten co-Defensive Player of the Year in 2006. Christen Karniski was selected as Big Ten co-Defensive Player of the Year in 2005.

Where the Illini Rank Statistically
Illinois ranks second in the Big Ten with 49 goals, which also sits in the Top 20 in the nation in the latest NCAA statistical rankings. The Illini also rank in the top 20 in the country in scoring offense (14th, 2.45 goals per game) and Top 35 in assists (32nd, 42). Illinois sits second in the Big Ten with 140 points and tied for fifth with 342 shots. Illinois' 49 goals are the fourth-most in school history.

DiBernardo Is Back in Action
Senior midfielder Vanessa DiBernardo missed seven games this season due to a knee sprain, but returned to action for Illinois' past three games. DiBernardo went down with the injury on Sept. 27 at the end of the first half against Iowa. The Illini went 2-5 over the next seven games without their All-American star. The Naperville, Ill., native started and played three minutes on Senior Day against Michigan State (Oct. 27), registered 12 minutes at Minnesota (Oct. 31) and tallied 64 minutes, including the entire second half, against Indiana (Nov. 6) in the Big Ten Tournament.

DiBernardo in the Record Book
After leading the team in points, goals and shots in 2012, senior Vanessa DiBernardo has continued her charge to the top of the record books in 2013 despite missing seven games due to a knee injury. With a team-high seven assists this season, DiBernardo set the school record for most career assists in school history with 22, passing Tara Hurless. DiBernardo's 104 career points rank third on the all-time list behind Emily Brown (109) and Hurless (115), while her 41 career goals also rank third, once again behind the duo of Brown (46) and all-time leader Hurless (47). She also is chasing Hurless (325) in career shots, as the senior holds the No. 2 spot with 312. DiBernardo owns the top spot with her 147 career shots-on-goal, surpassing Hurless' 111 last year. In addition, DiBernardo's two game-winners last season brought her career total to 14, two behind all-time leader Hurless (16).

DiBernardo also has staked her claim as the best offensive player in Illinois history in Big Ten play-only. Her 20 career conference goals and 50 career conference points both rank first all-time. DiBernardo also closed the gap of conference career assists to two as she will begin the 2013 season with 10, behind Eva Strickland's and Hollie Schurr's 12.