Illinois keep scoring momentum going, Breslin buries hat trick


Photo Courtesy of Craig Pessman/Fighting Illini Athletics

Senior Makena Silber moves the ball away from her opponent during a game agains Ohio State March 21. The Illinois soccer team won their game against Illinois State 5-1 Sunday evening.

By Angelle Cortes, Assistant Sports Editor

On Sunday night, Illinois took home another win on the road against neighbors Illinois State. A hat trick from Hope Breslin and two goals from Makena Silber extended their record to 2-0-0 as they head back to Champaign. 

The match started off with Illinois State getting the edge on the game as they controlled the tempo and applied a lot of pressure. However, Illinois saw gaps in the midfield and took advantage of the space. 

By the seventh minute Illinois was up 1-0 with Silber getting the goal. Maggie Hillman took the ball in midfield and sent Silber through to the net. The shot was deflected off Illinois State goalkeeper Priya Gillan and took a lucky bounce as Silber was able to follow it and score in a sea full of white jerseys.  

Five minutes later, the lead was cut to a tie after Riley O’Brien got a ball to put her on goal and she chipped goalkeeper Julia Cili to level the game up. 

The tie didn’t hold for long as Breslin stole the ball off a back pass to Gillan and slotted it easily into goal to get the lead back. 

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Seven minutes later, Silber scored her second of the game in the 22nd minute. Breslin started the counter attack in Illinois’ half and finessed her way through players to get the ball to Sydney Stephens. A cross into the box to Silber and she took it first time on goal and rattled off the crossbar but she chased after the ball and buried the rebound once again. 

The second half Illinois State played with energy and hunger to get them back into the game as they were down 3-1, but Illinois were the stronger team on the field. 

In the 58th minute Breslin extended the lead to four goals after scoring on a breakaway off a pass from Lauren Stibich. Breslin took it solo onto the goal and made no mistake on her strong foot to get her second of the game.  

One minute later Silber smashed it from distance only to get saved by Gillan, but Breslin was on the end of the ball once again and scored the rebound to make it 5-1. 

Breslin notched her first career hat trick and is now back on the scoring sheet after going the 2020 season without a goal. After two games she leads the team with four goals to her name. 

Illinois have now scored nine goals in two games and are on a win streak heading into the new week.. Next up will be Atlantic Coast Conference powerhouse North Carolina at the new Demirjian Park on Thursday night.




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