No. 11 Nittany Lions Fall, 2-1, to No. 18 Illinois in Big Ten Final
Nov. 6, 2011
EVANSTON, Ill. - No. 11 Penn State women's soccer team fought a tough No. 18 Illinois team and a strong wind, falling to the Illini, 2-1, in overtime at Lakeside Field in the Big Ten Tournament Final Sunday evening. Maya Hayes (West Orange, N.J.) tallied her 27th goal of the year. Emma Thomson (Nottinghamshire, England) and Jess Rosenbluth (Gladwyne, Pa.) were named to the All-Tournament Team.
In a tied game that went to overtime between the two best teams in the conference, Big Ten Midfielder of the Year Vanessa DiBernardo laced a shot to the left post three minutes into overtime to sew up Illinois' second Big Ten Tournament title. Penn State (19-4-0) had its 13-game winning streak snapped at the hands of the Illini (16-4-2). Ilinois defeated Penn State for just the third time in 23 meetings.
Illinois struck first when Marissa Mykines played a low cross through the mouth of goal to Julie Ewing as she placed a right-footed shot just inside the far post for a 1-0 lead just 5:51 into the match.
Penn State turned up the offensive pressure after the Illinois goal, earning three corner kicks in the middle of the half. Unfortunately for Penn State, they couldn't muster quality scoring opportunities.
The Nittany Lions finally cracked the Illinois code when PSU turned an Illini offensive opportunity into a goal. Penn State played the ball through the middle to Christine Nairn (Arnold, Md.) as she tapped the ball to Taylor Schram (Canonsburg, Pa.). Schram played a beautiful ball to the right wing to a streaking Hayes as she one-timed a volley to the far left post past Steph Panozzo (two saves) to knot things up at one in the 33rd minute.
The goal was Hayes's 27th of the year, tying her with Christie Welsh's PSU second-place effort for single-season goals, putting her five behind record-holder Tiffany Weimer's 32 (2005). Schram tallied her 12th assist of the year, which puts her into second for a Penn State sophomore, while Nairn moved into sixth all along in all-time assists with her 27th helper of hr three-year career.
After a scoreless second half mostly dominated by the Ilini who had the strong 25 miles-an-hour wind at their backs. While no goals were scored, Illinois out-shot Penn State, 6-1. Illinois then had the opportunity to play with the wind in the overtime period as DiBernardo capitalized on her opportunity from 20 yards out.
The Nittany Lions had their longest winning streak in six years snapped at 13 heading into the NCAA Tournament, which starts on Friday, Nov. 11. Penn State will be looking for its first seed since the 2009 tournament, when the Nittany Lions were a No. 4 seed. The NCAA Selection Show is slated for 4:30 p.m. on Monday afternoon on NCAA.com.
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