September 23, 2012
PUNISHED BY PENN STATE
Illini fall 4-0
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Four different players scored for Penn State as the Nittany Lions handed Illinois their first home loss of the season, 4-0 at Illinois Soccer and Track Stadium Sunday afternoon.
The Nittany Lions silenced the crowd early when Tani Costa scored in the first minute of the contest. Maya Hayes dribbled down the left flank and delivered a low cross. Costa, who was in the middle of the box 15 yards out, struck the ball to the lower right corner of the net for the 1-0 lead.
"In defense, hesitation can be a difficult thing to deal with, and I think we hesitated a little bit in those first twenty minutes and Penn State punished us and made us pay for our hesitation," Illinois Coach Janet Rayfield said about the early tallies.
Illinois tallied their first shots of the match in the following minutes when Nicole Breece's shot was blocked by a Penn State defender then Shayla Mutz's header was saved by Erin McNulty.
When Vanessa DiBernardo's shot went high in the 16th-minute, Penn State added to their lead on a play that originated from the ensuing goal kick. After working the ball up the right hand side, Penn State's Mallory Weber had the ball with just one defender to beat. A quick touch to the inside freed enough space for Weber to release a shot that found the back of the right side of the net.
One minute later, Hayes extended the lead to 3-0. Corey Persson earned the assist when she sent a long ball from her own defensive third to Hayes up top. Maya, on the breakaway, touched it by the keeper and finished the play.
Nicole Denenberg tried getting Illinois on the board late in the first half when she recorded three shots in the following 12 minutes. DiBernardo rifled off the last shot of the half to bring the shot totals to eight vs Penn State's 12.
"Once we settled down and started to play with confidence, we did some good things and created some good looks at the goal. Against a talented team like Penn State, we need to be more accurate with those opportunities," said Rayfield.
Penn State netted their fourth and final goal on a Kori Chapic shot in the 86th-minute. Raquel Rodriguez earned the assist off of a corner kick which found Chapic in the Illini box. Kori one-timed the shot for her first goal of the season.
Illinois finished with 19 shots and four on target compared to Penn State's 25 and 10 shots on goal. Illini keeper Steph Panozzo finished with six saves compared to McNulty's four.
Illinois next faces Indiana on Friday, Sept. 28, at 6 p.m. CT in Bloomington, Ind.
"Everyone in the Big Ten is a credible opponent that will come to play especially on the road," said Rayfield. "We have to approach Big Ten games one at a time. We said the same thing last year when we were 0-2-1. We have to learn from this game and focus on the game coming up this Friday."