Illinois defeats Colorado College at new Demirjian Park


Daily Illini File Photo

Illinois goalkeeper Jaelyn Cunningham takes a goal kick during the game against Northwestern at Illinois Soccer Stadium on Saturday, October 7, 2017. The Illini won 1-0.

By Claire O'Brien, Staff Writer

The Illinois soccer team defeated Colorado College, 2-0, Sunday at the new Demirjian Park in Champaign.

Sunday’s game was the first time Illinois played in Demirjian Park, despite much of the facility is under construction.

Pre-game, the Demirjian family presented the game ball alongside athletic director Josh Whitman, and Illinois Athletics gave out hard hats to fans for “Construction Zone Day.”

Sophomore forward Makena Silber scored the first two goals at Demirjian Park for Illinois. She scored at 19:49 and 24:49 but was also very impressed with the team’s new digs.

“It’s beautiful,” Silber said. “The grass is incredible. I think that’s a soccer player’s biggest thing, just have nice grass. I feel like I could take a nap out here.”

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In the first half, the Illini had 10 shots, four shots on goal and three saves. The Tigers had nine shots, three shots on goal and two saves.

At 31:11, junior midfielder Hope Breslin got a yellow card, the team’s sixth of the season. Neither team scored in the rest of the half, and Illinois led at the half 2-0.

In the second half, the game picked up where it left off. Neither team scored the rest of the way, but Illinois had four offsides. Both teams had one in the first half.

In the second half, Illinois had five shots, one shot on goal and one save. Colorado College had four shots, one shot on goal and one save.

This season, Illinois has been making changes, particularly on defense. The team currently is off to its best start since 2015, when it finished its nonconference schedule 6-1.

“It’s great to get our first shutout and to open the field with that sort of performance,” head coach Janet Rayfield said. “I think we’ve put ourselves in a good place from a record standpoint. We can look back and say that, but we still have to just put our head down and keep working because it certainly doesn’t get any easier as we head into Big Ten play.”

Senior goalie Jaelyn Cunningham got her and the team’s first shutout of the season.

“(I) feel like we’ve been working really hard, really hard, and then to open up the field, to get a clean sheet, all together in one, felt really great,” Cunningham said.

Illinois plays Northwestern on Friday at Demirjian Park to open Big Ten play.


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