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

Red-hot Illinois moves to 4 matches unbeaten with victory over Louisville

Junior+Sydney+Stephens+runs+to+kick+the+ball+away+from+Indiana+State+on+Sept.+04%2C+2022.+The+Illini+hits+a+win-streak+on+Thursday+that+has+not+been+achieved+since+2019.
The Daily Illini Photo File
Junior Sydney Stephens runs to kick the ball away from Indiana State on Sept. 04, 2022. The Illini hits a win-streak on Thursday that has not been achieved since 2019.

Illinois soccer found itself victorious for the third time this season after downing Louisville on Thursday night. The Illini, who’ve only played one of their four matches at home so far, haven’t been affected by the hostile crowds and picked up a one-goal triumph to take into the next game.

Illinois started off strong and nearly opened the scoring in the third minute. Graduate student forward Makena Silber got to the ball off of a corner kick and tested the Cardinals’ goalkeeper only for her shot to be saved.

Silber wasn’t finished, however, and in the 11th minute the veteran managed to get possession of the ball in Louisville’s penalty area. After squaring it to the back post, junior midfielder Sydney Stephens opened her 2023 scoring account, finding the finish from close range to put the Illini in front. Illinois 1, Louisville 0.

The remainder of the first half was scoreless as the Illini held off the Cardinals’ attack. Senior goalkeeper Julia Cili only needed to make one save heading into the break with the visitors up by one.

The second half saw Louisville press early for an equalizer. A dangerous corner by the Cardinals in the 55th minute was nearly enough to bring the home side back. However, alert defending from senior midfielder Kennedy Berschel and redshirt freshman midfielder Ashley Stellon led to a crucial goal line clearance.

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    Just a few moments later, Illinois found its second goal of the night in the 59th minute. The play began with senior forward Makala Woods, who powered her way through two defenders before finding sophomore forward Lia Howard in the middle. Despite losing possession momentarily, Howard battled her way past her marker and slotted the ball past the ensuing Cardinals goalkeeper to boost the Illini lead to two on the night. Illinois 2, Louisville 0.

    Sophomore forward Sarah Foley and Stephens both nearly added to the Illini’s total but instead ended up forcing spectacular saves out of the Cardinals’ keeper.

    Louisville wasn’t finished on the offensive end and gave Illinois a scare late in the contest. The Cardinals pulled one back after an 83rd minute goal but were unable to complete the comeback as the Illini pulled out the narrow triumph. Final score: Illinois 2, Louisville 1.

    As has been a recurring theme in their games so far, the Illini, while not scoring a plethora of goals, once again managed to find the important strikes to take the contest. Illinois is enjoying its longest undefeated streak to start a season since 2015. It is also the first time since 2019 that the program has gone four matches unbeaten.

    The Illini will remain in the state of Kentucky for their next match, as they travel to Lexington to take on the Kentucky Wildcats. The match kicks off at noon on Sunday as Illinois aims to extend its undefeated streak to five straight games.

     

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    About the Contributor
    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!
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