CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - University of Illinois junior Vanessa DiBernardo claimed her second player of the week (POTW) honors after recording five points on two goals and one assist, in a 2-1 win at No. 24 Michigan. Therefore, DiBernardo once again claimed the Big Ten Co-Offensive player of the week, previously acknowledged Oct. 8 for her hat-trick performance in the win over Michigan State. The Naperville native also garnered Top Drawer Soccer's Team of the Week honors along with College Sports Madness' Big Ten POTW.
Down 2-0 in the second half, DiBernardo got the Illini back in the game in the 62nd-minute when she stole possession from the Wolverines and released a left-footed shot from the top of the box that found the back of the net. Vanessa then spearheaded the equalizer, setting up Niki Read's goal in the 84th-minute. In overtime, freshman Nicole Breece set the stage when she drew a foul in Michigan's box. DiBernardo then clinched the game with a successful penalty kick.
The victory was the first ever for the Orange and Blue in Ann Arbor as the Illini also handed Michigan their first home loss on the year. In addition, it was the first win this season for Illinois over a ranked opponent.
DiBernardo has eight goals, including two game-winners, through 11 games, which have been all conference matches. Therefore, Vanessa has now tied Tara Hurless (2001-04) for most career goals scored in Big Ten play only, with 20. She surpassed Hurless (48 pts, 141 shots) this weekend for the top spot in career points and career shots in conference play, now with 50 and 151 respectively.
The Fighting Illini enter the Big Ten Tournament Wednesday morning just as their name suggests, 'fighting.' The Orange and Blue are enjoying a two-game win streak in which they produced seven total goals. Illinois will clash with Minnesota in the opening round Oct. 31 in Bloomington, Ind. Kickoff is scheduled for 9:30 a.m. CT.