Home CollegeIllini Illini Battle to Thrilling Draw vs. Iowa

Illini Battle to Thrilling Draw vs. Iowa

by Connor Tomko

Illinois soccer battled to a 2-2 draw against Iowa at Demirjian Park on Thursday night.

The Orange and Blue move to 6-4-2 on the season and are now 1-2-1 in Big Ten play this season.

Julia Cili was called into action early for the Illini in the first 15 minutes of the contest, making four saves during that span. Sydney Stephens had an attempt from distance, but her shot was saved.

The Hawkeyes struck first in the 23rd minute, when Sara Wheaton attempted to find a teammate in the box with a cross from near midfield, but Cili mistimed her jump for the ball, which bounced into the back of the net.

The Illini won three corners after the goal but were unable to find the breakthrough. Ella Karolak came the closest to scoring from one of the pieces, but her toe poked effort was saved.

For the third-straight contest, Illinois would have to rally from a halftime deficit. The hosts began the second half aggressively, pressing Iowa into dangerous situations. The pressure would pay off in the 67th minute when Sydney Stephens blocked an attempted clearance from Iowa keeper Monica Wilhelm. Stephens gained control of the loose ball in the area and was fouled by Wilhelm, resulting in a penalty for the Illini. Aleah Treiterer stepped up for penalty duties and buried her strike down the middle into the roof of the net.

With the Illini bolstered by the goal and continuing their energetic play, Maeve Jones was picked out in space by Kendra Pasquale, and Jones gave the Illini the lead for the first time in the match when she spectacularly lobbed Wilhelm from 35 yards out for her second goal of the season.

The celebration from the sophomore’s stunning goal were short lived, however. In the 74th minute, Cili made a fantastic stop on Elle Otto, who was through on goal, to force a corner. On the ensuing corner, Lilian Lucas cleared a shot off of the line but the ball fell to Otto who scored to level the match.

After three goals being scored in a 10-minute flurry, the final 15 minutes were largely uneventful, as neither team was able to pose a threat on goal and the match ended in a 2-2 draw.

Next Up

The Illini take on rival No. 9 Northwestern on Sunday, Oct. 2, at Demirjian Park, with a 1 p.m. CT kickoff. The match will be broadcast on the Big Ten Network.

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