Illinois Cages Tigers in PKs, Advances to NCAA Round of 16

Nweke Tallies Seventh Goal, Illinois Wins 4-3 in Penalty Kicks

Sophomore midfielder Krystin Miller made the first penalty kick, propelling Illinois to the 4-3 win in PKs against Missouri.

Nov. 16, 2008

COLUMBIA, Mo. - The Illinois soccer team again battled into double overtime and again found a way to win, capturing the victory, 4-3, in penalty kicks over the hosting fourth-seeded Missouri Tigers on Sunday afternoon at the Audrey J. Walton Complex. The Illini (12-8-2) and Tigers (16-5-2) tied through 110 minutes of play, with junior forward Chichi Nweke tallying the second-half goal for the Orange and Blue. Illinois advances to the NCAA Round of 16 to face No. 1 seed North Carolina (21-1-2) on Saturday at 4:30 p.m. (CT) at Fetzer Field in Chapel Hill, N.C.

Not only did the win mark the second of this year's tournament for the Illini, but it also was the second time this weekend that the Orange and Blue eliminated a set of Tigers from the postseason, along with the Memphis Tigers on Friday. Additionally, it was the second time this season that Illinois and Missouri went into overtime, with the Illini winning both contests.

Illinois opened the PK round with sophomore midfielder Krystin Miller coming off the bench and nailing the first kick. After the Tigers made their first, both teams missed the second to keep it even at one apiece. Each team netted the next two to make it 3-3 before junior midfielder Courtney Bell punched in the final one for the Illini in the best-of-five round. With the Tigers down to their final kick to send it to sudden death, Illini goalkeeper Alexandra Kapicka slid to her left and kicked the ball away to propel Illinois into the next round of postseason play.

Kapicka delivered an outstanding performance throughout the match, collecting a career-high 11 saves. She has given up just one goal through the last 503 minutes of play.

After a scoreless first half, Nweke notched her team-leading seventh goal of the season in the 56th minute to give the Illini a 1-0 lead. After junior midfielder Jackie Santacaterina drew Tiger goalkeeper Tasha Dittamore to the right post, she touched the ball to Nweke inside the six. Nweke tapped the ball around Dittamore and it rolled into the goal.

Missouri netted the equalizer in the 74th minute after a pair of passes across the field gave Tiger Mallory Stipetich an open look. She squared to the goal and fired a shot from inside the 18 past a diving Kapicka to tie the game 1-1.

Despite facing a persistent Tiger attack through two overtime periods, the Illini defense held steady for their ninth shutout of the season. Illinois also remained unbeaten when scoring first, with a 12-0-1 record, and is 3-0-2 in overtime games this year, three of which have occurred in the postseason.

The Illini make their third trip to the NCAA Round of 16 and second in the last three years. They will face the Tarheels, alma mater of head coach Janet Rayfield, for the first time in history.



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