No. 19 Illinois heads off Gauchos

Despite a late second half flurry of shots that included a couple near-misses, UCSB couldn’t overcome a first half goal by No. 19 Illinois and dropped a 1-0 decision on Friday night at Meredith Field at Harder Stadium.

The Fighting Illini (2-0-1) scored the only goal of the match in the 10th minute and made it stand up over the final 80:16 en route to the win. The Gauchos (0-3-0) played a solid second half, but couldn’t find the back of the net.

Illinois score came at the 9:44 mark when Kristen Gierman headed a volley in the box to teammate Shayla Mutz. The 6-foot-1 Mutz leaped up in a crowd right in front of the goal and headed a shot into the upper left corner.

The Fighting Illini outshot UCSB in the first half 5-3, but thanks to a late surge, the Gauchos had eight second half shots to their opponents seven. None of the eight, however were on frame. The final three attempts came in the closing four minutes. Geneve Dromensk ripped the first of the three shots, but it went wide to the left. The final two shot came from senior midfielder Erin Ortega. Ortega’s first attempt with 2:30 left was deflected high over the crossbar and the second, with 1:40 remaining, was wide.

Ortega finished the match with four of UCSB’s 11 shots.

Illinois goalkeeper Steph Panozzo needed just two saves to record the shutout. Gaucho junior McKenna Henry, who had eight saves in each of her first two games this season, had four more on Friday night.

UCSB will host its second straight Big Ten opponent on Friday, Aug. 31 when it hosts Indiana University in a contest that will kick-off at 7:00 p.m. at Meredith Field at Harder Stadium.