DENVER – The Illinois women's soccer team couldn't sustain its Rocky Mountain high on Sunday, losing 3-2 in overtime to the University of Denver.
Coming off a 2-1 overtime victory against Colorado College on Friday, the Illini took a 2-0 halftime lead but couldn't hold on, giving up two goals in the final 20 minutes of regulation and the game-winner three minutes into overtime.
"We were on the road and a little tired for sure, but even so we should win when we're up 2-0," Illinois head coach Tricia Taliaferro said. "We have a tendency to lose focus and not finish."
The focus was evident early in the first half, Emily Brown notching her school-record 18th goal on a pass from defender Kim Doetzel. It was Brown's fourth goal in three games.
With an assist from Brown, senior midfielder Kelly Buszkiewicz added a score at 27 minutes, seven seconds.
But Denver (8-9-1) outshot the Illini 22-16, Kerri Weaver scoring at 79:24 and Molly George at 82:54. Illinois had a late goal waved off because of an offside call.
Denver's Jessie Nelson redirected a free kick at 3:04 of overtime to complete the comeback.
"The whole team played well in the first half," Brown said. "We lowered our level of play in the second half and let them back in it, unfortunately."
The Illini (11-7-2) next plays a first-round Big Ten tournament match against Iowa at 11 a.m. Friday in Bloomington, Ind. The semifinals are Saturday and the final Sunday.