Badgers men's soccer team drops heartbreaker to Fighting Illini
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. -- Despite a late rally that included a pair of scores in the final 23 minutes of action, the University of Wisconsin women's soccer team dropped its first road match of the season, falling to the Illinois Fighting Illini, 3-2, at the Illinois Soccer Stadium on Saturday night.
"The most disappointing thing is I don't think we came out as sharp as we needed to and as a coach I take full responsibility for that," UW head coach Paula Wilkins said. "I thought we had decent play in the first half but we weren't able to put on the pressure to really cause any damage."
Down 2-0 late in the second stanza, the Badgers (8-3-2, 3-2-1) were able to connect a few passes and finally get on the board as senior Alev Kelter tallied her fourth goal of the season. Kinley McNicoll served in a cross from right to left, connecting with Kelter who beat Illini keeper, Claire Wheatley left to cut Illinois' lead to 2-1.
Just seconds later, the Fighting Illini (7-5-2, 2-3-1) bit back, as Janelle Flaws tallied her second goal of the evening, beating Genevieve Richard for the game-clinching score.
"I don't think we've trained enough in end-of-the-game situations and I take fault for that," Wilkins added.
Kylie Schwarz would earn her second score of the season in the 88th minute on a set piece from McNicoll, but it would not be enough as Illinois cleared a pair of UW chances in its offensive third of the field to secure the conference win.
The Badgers had their chances, attempting 23 shots, including 11 on goal. UW also earned a season-high 11 corner kicks, with many of them coming in the waning minutes of the match.
"I liked the fact that they showed resiliency but what I struggled with is that we shouldn't have to come back and play at their pace because we're behind," Wilkins said. "With this young group, one of the things I'm going to continue to emphasize to them is the fact that we need to set the tone and not let other teams do that."
A first half penalty kick from Illinois put the Badgers in a 1-0 hole early, as Taylore Peterson earned her first score of the season in the 36th minute.
Flaws recorded her first score of the game within the next six minutes, beating Richard one-on-one and finishing low to give the Illini the 2-0 lead heading into the intermission.
"We will continue to push for this program to take the next step and I'm going to continue to harp on that," Wilkins added. "We have to use this against the next game against Nebraska and we have to be prepared."
The Badgers return home on Fri., Oct. 18 to welcome No. 24 Nebraska to the McClimon Complex. Kickoff is slated for 7 p.m.
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