DiBernardo, Illini win league opener

CHAMPAIGN — It took one shot for the Illinois soccer team to realize how much it missed Vanessa DiBernardo.

The Illini struggled to score in the nonconference portion of their schedule, racking up just six goals in seven matches — including three in one match.

DiBernardo scored on her first shot, Nicole Breece broke a first-half tie and the Illini opened the Big Ten season with a 2-1 victory against Iowa.

"It was great to get Vanessa back into the mix and with some more training I think we will get in sync even more consistently," said coach Janet Rayfield, who was coaching her first match of the season after helping DiBernardo and the U.S. U20 team win World Cup gold in Japan.

Megan Pawloski assisted on both Illini goals, and Steph Panozzo recorded five saves to help hand the Hawkeyes their first loss of the season (9-1-0).

DiBernardo had a school-record 11 shots in the win to help Illinois improve to 4-3-1.

In men's golf:

Illini claim first. Thomas Pieters (67) shot the low round of the day to jump into sixth place and lead the Illini to the Wolf Run Invitational title for the third time in five years in Zionsville, Ind.

Charlie Danielson, Thomas Detry and Mason Jacobs all tied for 10th for the Illini.

"The course was difficult all weekend and I was hoping we could survive it," Illinois coach Mike Small said. "Our scores were decent and we saw everyone play some really solid golf and make a lot of progress out there."

In women's tennis:

Fine finish. Rachael White and Melissa Kopinski each won their final singles match in straight sets at the Duke Fab Four Invitational in Cary, N.C.

White was 3-1 and Kopinski was 2-2 in singles and they teamed to go 2-1 in doubles.

In men's tennis:

Doubles no trouble. The Illini ended the Olympia Fields Invitational by going 3-0 in doubles on Sunday (7-2 for the weekend). Sophomore Tim Kopinski won in two sets in singles to highlight the day.

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