Illini Snap Huskies Win Streak
Sept. 21, 2008
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Illinois scored in the 4th minute and never looked back, tallying three first-half goals to hand the Washington women's soccer team its first loss of the season, 3-0, Sunday at the Illinois Soccer and Track Stadium.
The Huskies were looking to equal their best start in program history, but instead were shutout for the first time in 2008, dropping to 7-1.
The Illini started the scoring at the 3:58 mark of the first half when Emily Zurrer headed in a pass from Courtney Bell off a corner kick for what turned out to be the game-winner. Just 10 minutes later, Illinois struck again when Jessica Levitt took a pass from Chichi Nweke and sent it into the lower right corner of the net past UW goalkeeper Alex Phillips.
Illinois made it 3-0 in the 32nd minute when Nweke scored her fourth goal of the season off two quick passes from Cory Steigerwald and Jordan Hilbrands to give the Illini an insurmountable lead.
The Huskies actually outshot the Illini, 15-11, led by junior Veronica Perez, who attempted six shots including two on goal. Illinois goalkeeper Alexandra Kapicka was solid in goal, however, making six saves to record the shutout. Husky senior Melissa Beal attempted two shots for UW.
Illinois (6-3) extended its home winning to 11 games.
'They're a very good team and they're very good at home so you can't come in against a team like that and start on you heels like we did,' Husky head coach Lesle Gallimore said. 'We had a couple tough calls go against us early and were slow on the re-starts and then they were fabulous with their finishing. When you have to chase a team like that it's going t to be a tall order.'
The Huskies were able to rebound and control the tempo in the second half, taking eight shots to just three by Illinois.
'The upside is that we really gave them some trouble in the second half,' Gallimore said. 'We didn't give them many more chances and we could have scored there a couple times but we weren't as sharp as we have been. It just didn't fall for us.'
Gallimore was still happy with a weekend split on the road against two ranked Big-Ten foes who both advanced to the second round of last year's NCAA tournament.
'You look at our team and we've done so well but with a young team you have to learn lessons,' Gallimore said. 'This is a great time for us to have a game like this but you have to learn from it. You never want to lose a game, but our team is so young, we have so much we can get out of this. It's tough to physically recover after a hard game Friday and then mentally try to refocus. These are things some of these kids haven't been through before.
'I continue to be so impressed with Veronica Perez,' Gallimore continued. 'She played a ton of minutes and was still creating opportunities out there. Melissa Beal played great and Kate Deines has been playing beyond her years. The backline fought and fought and had to defend a ton today. Kendyl Pele and Lindsey Kasser have been so solid for us and neither are seniors. Lindsey has been unbelievable. It's been fun to watch her grow. These are kids who aren't that battle-tested but they continue to get better and better.'
In addition to the freshman Deines, five other rookies saw time on Sunday including goalkeeper Kari Davidson, who played the entire second half in goal and made one save to keep the score 3-0.
'I think when you lose, you look at the score and the three first-half goals and the way they happened and it hurts, but when you step back, the score wasn't indicative of how the game really went. Illinois was clearly the better team today but I do think we took a lot away from this game on our end. You have to shake it off and we'll come home and face a couple of tough teams and hopefully get back on track.'
The Huskies return home next week to host Utah, Friday, Sept. 26 at 7 p.m., and Hawaii, Sunday, Sept. 28 at Noon.
NCAA Women's Soccer
Sunday, Sept. 21, 2008
Illinois 3, Washington 0
Scoring - 1, UI, Emily Zurrer (Courtney Bell), 3:58. 2, UI, Jessica Levitt (Chichi Nweke), 14:11. 3, UI, Chichi Nweke (Cory Steigerwald, Jordan Hilbrands), 31:17.
Shots - UW 15, UI 11
Corners - UW 3, UI 5
Saves - UW 2 (Alex Phillips 1, Kari Davidson 1), UI 6 (Alexandra Kapicka)
Fouls - UW 9, UI 7
Offsides - UW 2, UI 0