Hurless'' goal helps Illini turn the corner

Hurless'' goal helps Illini turn the corner

By: Joe Coughlin

By: Joe Coughlin

By: Joe Coughlin

By: Joe Coughlin

CHAMPAIGN – Scoring a goal on a corner kick when you are the one taking it is hard to do. Doing it from the right corner with your right foot is improbable if not impossible.

Illini forward Tara Hurless took the corner kick in the 75th minute and somehow bent the ball from left to right with her right foot to score the lone goal of Illinois'' 1-0 win against Wisconsin.

"I was trying to go back post for Sarah Brown or (Christine Sinak) and it ended up going in the back of the net," Hurless said.

She said one of the Badgers'' defensive players might have helped the ball in.

"My guess is that it was a mishit because that''s not in the playbook, especially not her hitting it with her right foot. That is an unnatural bend," Illini coach Janet Rayfield said. "You can''t say the goal we got was necessarily the greatest goal we''ve ever gotten, but it goes on the scoreboard."

The goal was Hurless'' 14th game-winning tally of her career, adding to her all-time Illinois record.

The 10th-ranked Illini needed the win badly after back-to-back losses to Michigan and Illinois State.

"We were going into the Big Ten 1-1 and now we''re 2-1, so it was definitely a big game," Illini defensive back Kelly Campbell said. "A loss to Michigan, a loss to ISU, we were just trying to pick it back up and play Illinois soccer."

The Illini limited No. 25 Wisconsin to five shots on goal, none of which were troublesome for UI goalkeeper Leisha Alcia, who notched her sixth shutout of the season.

"Our job is to absorb (the attack) and take away their space so they have no options," Campbell said. "The only option they did have was to shoot at long range and that''s easy for (Alcia) to pick up."

The Badgers didn''t take a corner kick and had trouble advancing the ball deep into Illinois territory.

"They created more danger," Wisconsin coach Dean Duerst said. "We didn''t get behind well enough. Didn''t get enough corners, didn''t get enough where Alcia had to make some special plays. It''s a game of luck, it''s a game of chances, a game of moments. Illinois found one way to find the right moment. That''s how tight all the games are in this conference."

The Badgers did have a chance to tie the game with about one minute to go. The Badgers served the ball over the top and got a touch on it, but no one was there to put it away as Alcia came out to make a sliding save.

"Every Big Ten game across the board has been a one-goal game, so you got to stay with it to the end and keep fighting," Rayfield said. "We just got to be the team that we are and understand what it means to be a top 10 team as opposed to the underdog all the time."

The Illini will continue conference play Friday against Minnesota at home.

Sections (3):Illini Sports, Sports, Soccer
Categories (3):Illini Sports, Soccer, Sports

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