CHAMPAIGN — Goals were in short supply Friday night at Illinois Soccer Stadium, but a typically stout Illini defense made sure one score was enough against Minnesota.
Notching its third consecutive shutout and fifth of the season, Illinois prevailed 1-0 on Vanessa DiBernardo’s first-half goal.
“It wasn’t a pretty victory,” UI coach Janet Rayfield said. “We talked about this being a battle for us to be able to play the style we wanted to play. We did not really get to do that, so the game became a fight while the ball was in the air and bouncing a lot. Fortunately, in the first half we got the ball on the ground a little bit, made a run out of the midfield and Niki (Read) served a great ball in to Vanessa, who put the goal away. We made that one stand out. A lot of credit to the defense for another shutout in the Big Ten.”
The Illini stretched their winning streak to a season-high-tying four, with each of the last three victories by 1-0 scores. During its current streak, Illinois has allowed one goal.
DiBernardo had four of the Illini’s seven shots on goal.
The teams tied in shots with 12 apiece, but only two of Minnesota’s were on goal, with Illini goalkeeper Steph Panozzo saving both.
“Steph made a couple of big-time saves in terms of keeping us in the game,” Rayfield said.
Illinois (10-4-1, 4-2-1 Big Ten) will host Wisconsin at 3 p.m. Sunday in its annual Soccerfest. The Gophers fell to 5-8-2 and 2-3-2.
In men's tennis:
Hoh leads good effort. Stephen Hoh, Bruno Abdelnour and Tim Kopinski won singles matches for Illinois at the USTA/ITA Midwest Regional Championships in Columbus, Ohio.
The Illini also received doubles victories from the teams of Ross Guignon/Abdelnour and Hoh/Kopinski.
Illini struggle. Jordan Hebert placed 49th as Illinois was 26th in the men's competition at the Wisconsin adidas Invitational. "I'm frustrated for these guys," UI coach Gavin Kennedy said. "They've done everything I've asked of them over the past couple weeks getting ready for this meet, so it's frustrating to have the performance we did today."
The UI women were 44th behind Meghan Frigo's 187th-place finish. "There were a lot of things that we just didn't do well that we've done well in past races," UI coach Jeremy Rasmussen said.