Illinois showcases Big Ten talent at Husky Invite

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Illinois showcases Big Ten talent at Husky Invite

Kara Marbury attempts a pass during Illinois' win over TCU on Friday, August 28.

Kara Marbury attempts a pass during Illinois' win over TCU on Friday, August 28.

Tyler Courtney | The Daily Illini

Kara Marbury attempts a pass during Illinois' win over TCU on Friday, August 28.

Tyler Courtney | The Daily Illini

Tyler Courtney | The Daily Illini

Kara Marbury attempts a pass during Illinois' win over TCU on Friday, August 28.

By Matt Gertsmeier

In terms of soccer success, the Big Ten hasn’t made much of a name for itself, but this weekend in Seattle, Hope D’Addario wanted to change that.

In the past 10 years, three NCAA soccer champions have been from the Pac-12 conference and one from the West Coast Conference. Only one Big Ten team has made it to the championship — Penn State — but it didn’t hoist the trophy.

D’Addario and the Illinois soccer team had a goal this weekend at the Husky Nike Invitational — prove to the West Coast that the Big Ten is a talented and up-and-coming conference.

The Illini struggled to accomplish that goal in the Husky Nike Invitational, splitting games against Washington and Portland — Illinois lost 2-1 on Friday to Washington and beat Portland 1-0 on Sunday.

Washington and Portland each faced Michigan and Illinois in a round-robin fashion. Though there was no trophy for the weekend, bragging rights between the West Coast and Midwest were on the line.

Friday’s loss was Illinois’ first of the season: the Huskies outshot the Illini 19-4 in a physical game. Forward Kara Marbury scored the Illini’s only goal.

Head coach Janet Rayfield didn’t think the disproportionate stats were a fair representation of the game.

“They certainly had possession of the ball, (but they) took a lot of shots from outside,” Rayfield said. “I think our attack wasn’t as effective as it needed to be, but one of the things I think about our team is we are pretty selective in our shots.”

With no games scheduled on Saturday, Illinois reviewed game film from the loss to Washington. Forward Jannelle Flaws said that upon reviewing the tape, Illinois made a lot of uncharacteristic mistakes.

Suffering the first loss of the year provided the Illini with some extra motivation.

“This is a very competitive team and we hate losing,” Flaws said. “Anytime we’re going to lose, we’re going to want to come back stronger the next day.”

Sunday’s 1-0 win over Portland was a much different game. In a much slower paced game, the Illini recorded 11 shots compared to the Pilots’ seven. For most of the game, it looked like game would end in a tie, but Flaws scored the game-winning goal in the 81st minute off of a penalty kick.

Rayfield said there was a noticeable difference of energy in Sunday’s game.

“I think Friday night’s game was end to end and really tested us on both sides of the ball,” Rayfield said. “Today’s game we sort of grounded out. This was a grind out win.”

Overall, Illinois and Michigan combined for a 2-2 record, as did Washington and Portland. Despite not leaving the Husky Invite with two wins, D’Addario still thinks Illinois strongly represented the Midwest.

“I think the Big Ten is showing that we’re really a strong conference and want to be one of the top in the country,” D’Addario said.

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@MattGertsmeier