The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

Illinois soccer battles out scoreless draw versus Dayton, extends unbeaten streak

Midfielder+Kennedy+Berschel+faces+of+ISU+on+Aug.+18%2C+2023.+The+Illinis+latest+match+on+Sunday+resulted+in+a+draw+with+both+teams+not+making+a+goal+during+the+match.
Angel Saldivar
Midfielder Kennedy Berschel faces of ISU on Aug. 18, 2023. The Illini’s latest match on Sunday resulted in a draw with both teams not making a goal during the match.

After two tight yet encouraging victories to start the season, Illinois soccer continued its five-game road trip with a visit to Dayton on Sunday. The Illini fought hard over the 90 minutes but weren’t able to find the winner, resulting in a scoreless night at Baujan Field.

“Really proud of our defense,” said head coach Janet Rayfield. “Thatʼs a very dangerous counter attacking team, so to limit them to the number of chances they had and shut them out was a credit to the defense, organization and discipline we had today.”

Both the Illini and the Flyers headed into the contest with winning streaks. Illinois had wins over Loyola and No. 17 Xavier under its belt. Meanwhile, Dayton had overcome the likes of Loyola Maryland, Cincinnati and Louisville, scoring 10 goals across these three matches.

The match kicked off with an eventful opening 10 minutes. A great run down the left wing by senior forward Makala Woods led to a dangerous ball into the box that junior midfielder Sydney Stephens wasn’t able to convert after a save on the line by Dayton’s keeper. Moments later, the Flyers had a prime one-on-one opportunity squandered by redshirt freshman goalkeeper Izzy Lee, whose fast reactions got her in front of the shot for the huge stop.

Both teams were evenly matched. Illinois was able to fire off a few more solid chances but to no avail, leading to a 0-0 scoreline heading into the halftime break.

    Subscribe to our sports newsletter!

    As the players returned to the pitch for the start of the second, there was little to separate the two sides. After neither team was able to get a shot off in the opening 15 minutes, it was graduate student Makena Silber who was able to find space and fire the first shot of the half. The Illini and the Flyers went back and forth in creating opportunities but neither were able to find the finish. By the time the final whistle blew, Illinois had taken 17 shots to Dayton’s seven but weren’t able to find the winner. Final score: Illinois 0, Dayton 0.

    “This squad is just focused on getting better everyday,” Rayfield said. “Because of that, they’re getting better every time out. We created some great chances today. I thought we were better today than we were even against Xavier and better than we were in the first game.”

    While the Illini’s win streak may have ended, they are still undefeated in their first three games of the 2023 season. Most importantly for Rayfield, however, is seeing the gradual improvement match by match.

    “That undefeated part is the outcome part,” Rayfield said. “But I think the improvement part that comes from seeing them game to game is what I’m most excited about. If we can keep doing that, I think we’ll have the kind of season that we want to have.”

    Illinois will continue its extended road trip by traveling to Louisville next. The match kicks off at 6:30 p.m. CT on Thursday as the Illini look to pick up their third victory of the season.

     

    @james_kim15

    [email protected]

    More to Discover
    About the Contributors
    James Kim, Sports Editor
    My name is James Kim and I’m a senior studying English with a minor in business. This is my third year with The Daily Illini and it’s been an amazing ride so far. When I joined in fall 2021, I began as a staff writer for the sports section where I covered women’s tennis. In spring 2022, I became an assistant sports editor and started covering soccer and Illinois men’s basketball. From spring 2023 onwards I’ve been working as the sports editor! In addition to being an Illini and Real Madrid fanatic, I also love watching movies and TV shows. If you have any questions about writing for The DI, you can reach me at my email below. I-L-L!
    Angel Saldivar, Assistant Photo Editor
    ILLordle: Play now