Illinois soccer coaches believe team looks ready after win

By Daniel Jalandoon

Despite losing the first two games of the spring season, the Illinois soccer team is starting to heat up.

The Illini defeated Illinois State 2-0 in a Friday night matchup,evening their spring record to 2-2-1 in the spring. After the win, the coaching staff discussed how the spring season has helped the team prepare for the fall.

“We played great tonight,” assistant coach Katie Hultin said. “The third week into this season, we’re just trying to put the little things into place.”

Illinois controlled a majority of the first period, despite the 0-0 score at the half. It didn’t take long for the coaches’ halftime adjustments to take effect. In the first minute of the second half, senior Jannelle Flaws blew by an Illinois State defender to score a breakaway goal. From then on, Illinois played with more poise and confidence.

The Illini had more shots on goal, more communication on the field and more control during the second half.

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After taking the ball away from an Illinois State defender, junior Anastasia Medellin’s hustle goal sealed the game in the 84th minute.

“We want to slide into tackles at the right time, and play with that blue-collar mentality,” Hultin said.

The coaches are proud of their defense; the Illini took away close scoring opportunities from the Illinois State offense and looked sharper than ever, only allowing one goal in their last three games.

Illinois closes out their spring season against conference opponent Wisconsin in Champaign on April 27. The Illinois coaching staff is still looking to improve in the last game of the season, but is confident in the team’s level of play throughout the last half of the spring season.

“We’re going to continue to work on the little things, the technical aspects and just shaping our team and rotating the new faces,” Hultin said. “But I think we’re ready for the fall.”

Daniel can be reached at [email protected].