October 31, 2012
Down 2-0, man down Illini advance on pks
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. - Man down Illinois rallied back from a two goal deficit, but came back to force overtime before eventually beating Minnesota 3-2 in penalty kicks in their opening game of the Big Ten Tournament Wednesday at Armstrong Stadium on the campus of Indiana University.
"I am so proud of the heart that this team showed today," said head coach Janet Rayfield. "This will be one of those games that makes program history. The ones that stories are told about for years to come."
The Illini's Amy Feher was red carded after tripping a Minnesota player from behind on a breakaway. Leading goal-scorer Taylor Uhl converted the PK for the Gophers in the 10th minute.
Just three minutes later, Minnesota's Allie Phillips hit a short cross deep in the box where Uhl's header sent the ball toward the near post an past goalkeeper Steph Panozzo for the 2-0 advantage.
Tthe Orange and Blue responded in the 20th-minute off of a free kick taken by Vanessa DiBernardo. The shot deflected off the wall, bounced over the charging keeper and found Aliina Weykamp on the far post who finished it off. The tally was Weykamp's first goal on the year.
"We made one tactical adjustment at half and then I told them to see the headline that would be written when they came back from a two goal deficit and down a player," said Rayfield. "It was about believing and fighting and this team showed what a team with those two things can do."
In the 66th-minute, Vanessa DiBernardo found Niki Read down the left-center of the field with a perfectly executed through ball. Read was able to out-pace and out-maneuver the lone defender and release a low shot to the far post and in for the equalizer.
DiBernardo tried to claim the lead with 10 minutes left when the junior's bending shot was saved by a fully extended and diving Cat Parkhill.
After two scoreless 10-minute periods, Uhl started the shootout off for the Gophers with a successful PK, freshman Taylore Peterson got the Illini on the right track with a precision shot to the corner.
Panozzo then made a clutch save on Marissa Price's shot. Junior Kassidy Brown was up next and gave the Illini a 2-1 advantage heading into the third round.
Minnesota's MacKenzie Misel then shot her PK off the left post, opening the door for Illinois. Weykamp gave the Illini a 3-1 lead. Tamara Strahota was up next and kept the Gophers alive with a well placed shot. After DiBernardo's shot was blocked and the score at 3-2, Minnesota sent Taylor Wodnick to the line in a must make situation. Her shot went wide left allowing Illinois to advance to the quarterfinals.
Illinois is now 3-1 in PK shootouts in Big Ten Tournament history and have advanced past the first round 11 of 13 times in the program's history. Also, today marked the first time in school history the Illini have produced back-to-back comebacks down 2-0 and either have won or advanced.
Next up in the semifinals, the Illini have earned a rematch with No. 1 seed Penn State, who is also No. 3 in the nation. Penn State downed No. 8 seed Iowa 2-0. Illinois and Penn State met in Champaign on Sept. 23, in which the Nittany Lions bested the Illini 4-0. Kickoff is scheduled for Friday, Nov. 2, at 9 a.m. CT.