Soccer Tuesday (on Wednesday)

Soccer Tuesday (on Wednesday)

Recapping the Illini

Janet Rayfield and the Illini were somewhat disappointed with Sunday's 2-2 tie against a scrappy Minnesota team.  The second-largest crowd in Illinois soccer history (2,347) was on-hand during the fourth annual SoccerFest event.  The crowd got to see some exciting finishes for both sides, but ended up seeing the first non-win during the four years of SoccerFest.

This match was decided in the midfield.  Frankly, Illinois was fortunate to go into the half with a 1-1 tie after the Gophers came out firing in the first few minutes of the match, accumulating five corner kicks within the first five minutes of play.  Illinois survived that barrage, and actually scored first on a beautiful feed from Jordan Hilbrands to Christina Sahly in the box in the 17th minute.  The Gophers evened it up in the 35th minute off of a corner kick, one of eight Gopher corners in the first half.  The Illini did a poor job of marking Kylie Kallman in the box, and she was able to head it to Olivia Bagnall in the six yard box, who put it in the back of the net.  At the end of the half, the Gophers had tallied seven shots to just two for Illinois.  The Illini also had just one corner kick, compared to eight for Minnesota.

The second half was much more evenly played, as Rayfield inserted Cory Steigerwald into the midfield to add another ballwinning presence to senior Jackie Santacaterina.  The two teams exchanged goals in the first four minutes of the half, Illinois getting the equalizer from Santacaterina on a beautiful left-footed shot from just outside the box to the far corner.  That would be all the scoring on the day, as the two teams played another 60+ minutes without notching the game-winner.

Rayfield indicated after the match that she was a bit disappointed with her team's fight in the midfield, as Minnesota was able to control possession, especially in the first half.

Big Ten Wrapup

Here are last week's Big Ten scores and recaps:

Wednesday 9/23

Penn State 0 Bucknell 0 OT.  The Nittany Lions failed to gain momentum before their big showdown with Michigan State on Sunday.

Thursday 9/24

Minnesota 1 Iowa 0.  The Gophers got the game-winner from Molly Rouse in the last ten minutes of the match.  Iowa hung tough, but appears to still lack the weapons to threaten the conference's best defenses consistently.

Friday 9/25

Purdue 1 Wisconsin 1 OT.  A good start to the conference season for Paula Wilkins' Badgers, who had an up-and-down non-conference season. 

Northwestern 1 Indiana 0.  Indiana's 8-1 start may have been a bit of a mirage, as their lone quality victory in that stretch was against a Florida team that had just lost its leading scorer.

Sunday 9/27

Illinois 2 Minnesota 2

Michigan State 3 Penn State 2 OT.  Sophomore sensation Laura Heyboer notched the game-winner in overtime for the Spartans, who were without leading scorer Lauren Hill.  Penn State came roaring back in the second half from a 2-0 deficit, but had problems with MSU's pace up top all day long.

Ohio State 1 Michigan 0.  Recaps indicate that Michigan chose to play everyone behind the ball most of the day, hoping for a tie.  Perhaps karma had a hand in the own goal that was the difference in this one.  The Buckeyes outshot the Wolverines 13-1.

Wisconsin 3 Indiana 2.  An 0-2 start for the Hoosiers in the Big Ten, who may be having flashbacks to last year's disappointing conference season.  Wisconsin got a hat trick from Laurie Nosbusch to come away with the win and a 1-0-1 start in the league.

Purdue 2 Northwestern 0.  The Boilers righted the ship at Lakeside Field on Sunday, and they'll take a 1-0-1 start to league play on the road.

Current Standings

CONFERENCE
OVERALL

School
W
L
T
Pts
Pct
W
L
T
Pts
Pct
GF
GA

Minnesota
1
0
1
4
.750
7
2
2
23
.727
20
8

Purdue
1
0
1
4
.750
6
2
2
20
.700
23
11

Wisconsin
1
0
1
4
.750
5
4
2
17
.545
10
16

Ohio State
1
0
0
3
1.000
8
1
1
25
.850
21
4

Michigan State
1
0
0
3
1.000
7
0
2
23
.889
23
5

Northwestern
1
1
0
3
.500
4
6
1
13
.409
8
15

Illinois
0
0
1
1
.500
5
3
2
17
.600
19
12

Iowa
0
1
0
0
.000
7
3
0
21
.700
23
7

Michigan
0
1
0
0
.000
5
6
0
15
.455
15
19

Penn State
0
1
0
0
.000
4
5
1
13
.450
13
11

Indiana
0
2
0
0
.000
8
3
0
24
.727
19
10

To the Polls

Illinois continues to receive votes in the NSCAA Top 25, but remains outside the rankings.  Three Big Ten teams are in this week's poll:

12. Purdue (15)

15. Ohio State (21)

20. Michigan State (RV)

This week's NSCAA Great Lakes regional rankings are as follows:

1. Purdue

2. Ohio State

3. Michigan State

4. Indiana

5. Minnesota

6. Illinois

7. Wisconsin

8. Iowa

9. Creighton

10. Central Michigan

This week's Top Drawer Top 64 still has the Illini included, as they drop from #29 to #31.  Other Big Ten teams are:

10. Michigan State (13)

17. Ohio State (33)

32. Minnesota (NR)

38. Purdue (36)

Illinois remains in the Soccer Times Top 25, hanging on to the #24 spot after being #20 last week.  Other league representatives are:

16. Michigan State (24)

18. Ohio State (NR)

21. Purdue (18)

This Week's Matches

Last week, I predicted the winners for each Big Ten conference match, with a 4-2-2 record.  Again, I don't pick ties here, so I'm counting a tie as a tie in my prediction record.  I didn't give home teams enough credit last week, so I'll try to compensate a little bit this week.  I won't be predicting non-conference games here, though it will be a big upset if Iowa loses to Drake.  Again, winners are in bold.

Wednesday 9/30

Iowa at Drake 7pm

Thursday 10/1

Minnesota at Wisconsin 7pm.  Minnesota looked very good this weekend at Illinois, but Minnesota-Wisconsin is a huge rivalry, and the Badgers played very well at home last weekend.

Friday 10/2

Illinois at Purdue 3pm.  I predicted a tie in this one when the schedule was first released.  As I'm not predicting any ties during the conference season, I have to go with Purdue, as Illinois has never won in West Lafayette.

Michigan State at Indiana 6:30pm.  This one could easily end in a scoreless tie, as Indiana has one of the better defenses in the league, but has struggled to score at times.  I'll go with the desperate home team here, as Indiana can't afford to start 0-3 in league play.

Sunday 10/4

South Dakota at Minnesota 1pm

Michigan State at Purdue 12pm.  Purdue is just too tough at home, even for the high-scoring Spartans.

Ohio State at Penn State 12pm.  If the Nittany Lions don't win this one, we could easily see them miss the NCAA Tournament for the first time in a LONG time.

Illinois at Indiana 1pm.  A loss at Indiana last season nearly derailed Illinois' NCAA Tournament hopes.  My gut tells me the Illini will get their revenge this season.

Wisconsin at Iowa 1pm.  Iowa may be a year away from getting road wins in league play, but they're capable of picking people off at home.

Northwestern at Michigan 2:30pm.  Michigan has been bitten hard by the injury bug this season, which spelled death to a young squad.  The Wildcats have won their last two road matches, so I'll give them the slight edge in this matchup of teams expected to finish near the bottom of the Big Ten.

This week's coverage

WDWS will be broadcasting both of this week's matches on same day delay.  The Purdue match will air after Illinois volleyball, at approximately 7:30 pm, while the Sunday match at Indiana will be played back at 7 pm.

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