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

Silber scores as Illinois soccer opens 2023 Big Ten campaign with draw against Iowa

The Daily Illini Photo File
Forward Makena Silber rushes to keep the ball away from Grand Valley State on Apr. 2, 2022. Silber made her presence known during Sunday’s game against Iowa that ended in a draw.

Illinois soccer traveled to Iowa on Sunday for its first conference clash of 2023 with a week’s worth of rest and the momentum of an exciting senior day victory fueling the squad. The Illini and the Hawkeyes shared the honors to open Big Ten play with a 1-1 result from Iowa City.

The match opened with strong defensive performances from both teams. Senior goalkeeper Julia Cili faced her first real test of the match in the 27th minute, tipping a dangerous shot from distance over the bar to keep the score level.

Not long after, graduate student forward Makena Silber opened the scoring for Illinois in the 31st minute. The Crystal Lake native was able to pounce on a poor pass by the Hawkeyes, dribbling past the goalkeeper to fire home the first goal of the match. The goal served as Silber’s 21st career goal, moving the forward into a tie for eighth place with Colleen Joyce on the Illini’s all-time scoring list. Illinois 1, Iowa 0.

The visitors closed out the first half with a one-goal lead. Both sides continued their tight battle coming out of the break, with senior midfielder Kennedy Berschel nearly increasing Illinois’ advantage to two in the 58th minute. After receiving the ball at the top of the box, Berschel drove into the middle of the pitch and fired off a low shot toward the bottom left corner only to see the shot saved at the last second.

Cili continued her great form on Sunday and ended the match with nine total saves. The senior pulled off arguably her most important stop of the night in the 76th minute, catching a rocket shot from the Hawkeyes that was on its way into the top right corner of the net.

    Subscribe to our sports newsletter!

    Iowa wasn’t finished, however, and found its late equalizer in the 84th minute of the game. Hawkeyes forward Elle Otto was able to beat her marker on the right wing, sending in a cross to the far corner that was headed home by Kelli McGroarty to level the score. Neither side were able to find the game winner, splitting the points at one each. Final score: Illinois 1, Iowa 1.

    Illinois had the opportunity to sneak away with all three points, but with Big Ten competition serving as a bit of an Achilles heel for the program in recent years, a tie comes as a decent start to conference play. The Illini now find themselves 4-2-2 on the season after their showdown with the undefeated Hawkeyes.

    Illinois will be returning to Champaign for its conference home opener against Indiana. The match kicks off at 7 p.m. on Thursday night as the Illini hunt for their first Big Ten triumph of the year.



    [email protected]

    More to Discover
    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!