DiBernardo caps soccer rally
CHAMPAIGN — Illinois' 17th-ranked soccer team hasn't trailed much this season, but coach Janet Rayfield's squad didn't panic when it faced deficits against Colorado on Sunday.
After all, the Illini have sophomore midfielder Vanessa DiBernardo.
The Buffaloes led 1-0 at intermission, but Marissa Mykines tied the match and DiBernardo scored twice to give Illinois a 3-2 victory.
"To come from behind twice (is special). You have to be a good team to come from behind once," Rayfield said. "We talked about being confident in our goal scoring, and the more we have games like this, we can rely on that to win games and the more confident we will be in our attack."
Kate Russell converted a free kick to give the Buffaloes the lead at 37:04. Mykines evened the match five minutes into the second half.
Colorado (2-3-0) went ahead 2-1 in the 68th minute, but DiBernardo helped erase that deficit with two quick tallies.
"She (DiBernardo) is growing as a player," Rayfield said. "The thing that's great about it is that she just finds those opportunities as her team is able to find her in spaces. If Niki (Read) is going to the endline, Vanessa is in that seam to get the ball in a really good place. Her finishing has been great, but she has also started to be a defensive presence and win the ball. Her game is evolving, and as it evolves she makes all the players around her better. We are a good team because we like to share the ball and Vanessa likes to share the ball, and as a result she is having great success."
Illinois (5-1-0), which outshot Colorado 19-15, had three players on the Illini/Boilermaker Challenge Cup all-tournament team: DiBernardo, Mykines and Read.
UI keeper Steph Panozzo recorded a career-high six saves.