ANN ARBOR, Mich. — Coach Janet Rayfield’s Illinois soccer team needed a big win to boost its chances of making the NCAA tournament.
Even though the Illini (9-7-2, 6-4-1 Big Ten) likely need at least one victory in this week’s Big Ten tournament to feel confident about securing an NCAA berth, they can rest a little easier today after defeating No. 24 Michigan 3-2 on Saturday.
“This is the type of fight, relentless and timely composure this team has been searching for all year,” Rayfield said. “Our ability to stay with it down two goals shows that this team has learned from the past and is ready to go into the Big Ten tournament as fighters.”
Vanessa DiBernardo scored on a penalty kick after the Illini rallied to force overtime. It was Illinois’ first win in Ann Arbor and the Wolverines’ first loss at home this season.
UI goalkeeper Steph Panozzo recorded four saves.
The Illini, who won the Big Ten tournament last season, are seeded fifth for this year’s event, which begins Wednesday in Bloomington, Ind.