Women's Soccer

    Hoosiers Advance to Semifinals of Big Ten Tournament with 5-3 Win Over Illinois

    Go Hoosiers! The Hoosiers celebrate Lara Ross' goal in the 2nd half
    Go Hoosiers!
    The Hoosiers celebrate Lara Ross' goal in the 2nd half
    Go Hoosiers!

    Nov. 6, 2013

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    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - The Indiana women's soccer team recorded its 14th win of the season by defeating Illinois in the quarterfinals of the Big Ten Conference Tournament by a score of 5-3 at the Campus Turf Fields in Champaign, Ill. The victory is the first in the conference tournament for IU since 1996, as they advance to the semifinals on Friday to take on top seed Nebraska at 2:30 p.m. ET.

    The 14 wins matches the IU single-season record set back in 1998.

    "Getting this win is absolutely huge for our program," Indiana head coach Amy Berbary said. "We talked this morning as a team and we all agreed that we are not done playing yet. We have accomplished so much this year and I think this means so much to all of our fans and the university. The support that we have received over the last two months has meant the world to us and we cannot say `thank you' enough."

    Illinois (10-8-2 overall) outshot the Hoosiers, 22-11, in the game but the Hoosiers drew seven corner kicks to just three for the Illini on a cold and windy night.

    Indiana (14-5-1 overall) started out quick, drawing a pair of corner kicks in the opening minutes. They continued to pressure the Illinois goal and drew another corner kick in the sixth minute. Lisa Nouanesengsy sent the ball into Kayleigh Steigerwalt, who dropped it back to Nouanesengsy and drilled a shot from 18 yards out on the left side of the box that went screaming inside the far right post, a shot that the Illinois goalkeeper never saw, and Indiana went ahead, 1-0.

    For Nouanesengsy, it was her team high 11th goal of the season while Steigerwalt picked up her seventh assist of the year.

    Then in the 29th minute, Tori Keller got a pass dropped back to her from Steigerwalt and she drilled a curling shot towards the far right post and it snuck inside the post into the goal to put IU ahead, 2-0. It was Keller's second goal of the year and Steigerwalt's second assist of the game and eighth of the season.

    The Hoosiers were not done scoring in the first half, finding the back of the goal in the 38th minute on a scramble in front of the goal. Initially, Monica Melink and Abby Smith had their shots blocked by Illinois defenders before Veronica Ellis took a shot that deflected off another Illinois defender and fell right to Rebecca Candler, who deposited her fifth goal of the season into the net to give IU the 3-0 lead going into halftime.

    "We talked before the game that this will be a moment in their lives that they will remember forever," Berbary said."So we needed everyone today. One of the goals for this game was to start fast because it has been something we have struggled with, so we worked on it all week."

    As expected, Illinois came out aggressive in the second half and their aggressiveness drew a foul on the Hoosiers inside the box, which gave the Illini a penalty kick. Vanessa DiBernardo converted the kick to cut the IU lead to 3-1.

    With Illinois looking to claw back into the game, Indiana went on the attack with Abby Smith leading the charge in the 63rd minute. She found some space on the left sideline and sent a cross into the box that Monica Melink was able to get her head on and deflect into the goal before the Illinois keeper was able to grab it, giving Indiana the 4-1 lead. For Melink, it was her fourth goal of the season and third game-winning goal.

    But the IU attack was not finished, as they looked to end any chance of an Illinois comeback in the 74th minute. When the Illini appeared to have cleared the ball from their own end, IU defender Lara Ross charged forward and set a high ball back in the box. The ball bounced 12 yards in front of the Illinois goal and over the goalkeepers head into the back of the goal to put the Hoosiers out front, 5-1. It was the first goal of the season for Ross and the fifth of her career.

    Illinois would add two goals in the final 15 minutes to draw to within 5-3 but the Indiana defense would not allow them to get any closer. Although IU goalkeeper Shannon Flower did have to make seven saves in the contest, including a couple on point-blank shots late in the game.




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