CHAMPAIGN – Fighting Illini sophomore Hope Breslin netted her fourth goal of the season on Sunday, giving Illinois a 1-0, double-overtime, victory over the Indiana Hoosiers. Breslin converted a ball from sophomore Maggie Hillman to score the game-winner in the 107th minute of play.
The Illini close the regular season home slate with a 7-2-0 record at Illinois Soccer and Track stadium and improve to 10-6-0 on the season and 5-4-0 in Big Ten Play. Illinois will take on Northwestern Thursday before closing the regular season at Nebraska on Sunday.
“I’m happy to get the win and to get the three points,” head coach Janet Rayfield said. “I don’t think we came out well in the first half, we were sort of on our heels and that’s not the kind of discipline and effort that you want to see. But, we turned that around and created some really good chances in the second half. Credit to our team, Indiana is a team that scores a lot of goals, they have some dangerous and powerful players in their front four. I though our defense did a good job of limiting their chances form inside the box. Obviously, a shutout against Indiana is an accomplishment, but then to grind and find a way to win, I’m certainly happy for this team.”
Illini senior Patricia George fired the first shot of the match, as the Orange and Blue waged an early attack on the Hoosiers. Indiana responded, however, firing three-straight shots at the Illini net. Junior goalkeeper Jaelyn Cunningham grabbed her first save of the match in the fifth minute of play, and racked up four saves before the halftime break. Illinois forced three corner kicks in the first half, and put two of its four shots on goal.
After pressuring for much of the first half, Indiana continued its attack into the second period. Cunningham grabbed another save in the 53rd minute, but freshman Makena Silber followed that up with a shot on goal for the Orange and Blue. Silber added another pair of shots for UI in the second half, as the Illini continued to fight to find the back of the net. Both teams traded shots as the clock ticked down to the end of regulation, but the match remained scoreless.
Illinois put three of their seven second-half shots on goal, and had fired 11 shots at the end of regulation. The Illini defense worked hard to keep the Hoosiers out of Orange and Blue territory throughout the match as Indiana tallied 14 shots before the end of the second period.
The Hoosiers fired two shots during the first overtime, and Breslin added one for the Orange and Blue. The Illini were strong in the second overtime, as Maday fired a shot for the Illini in the 106th minute to get the attack rolling. Just one minute later, Breslin netted the golden goal to give Illinois its first overtime victory of the season. The action got started with a serve from George on the flank. After a scramble in the box, Maggie Hillman sent a ball across the box to Breslin who found the open space behind the Hoosier keeper to secure the victory for Illinois. The assist marks the third for Hillman this season.
— Illini Soccer (@IlliniSoccer) October 14, 2018
The Hoosiers outshot Illinois, 16-14, and Cunningham closed the match with eight saves. The Illini put six shots on frame, led by Silber. The freshman put three of her four total shots on goal in the match. Junior Kelly Maday was also strong on the attack on Sunday, adding three shots for Illinois. The shutout marks the seventh for Illinois this season.
The Illini will hit the road to conclude the regular season next week, heading to Northwestern and Nebraska. The Orange and Blue take on the Wildcats Thursday, October 18 at 7 p.m. before facing the Huskers on Sunday at 1:05 p.m.
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