Three Big Ten teams, headlined by Big Ten tournament champion Illinois, made the 2011 NCAA Women’s Soccer Championship, it was announced Monday. Ohio State and Big Ten regular-season champ Penn State join the Illini in the field. For Penn State, this marks the program’s 17th consecutive NCAA berth. View the official NCAA bracket and read the full release from BigTen.org.
No. 18 Illinois soccer won its second Big Ten Tournament Championship in program history with a victory over No. 11 Penn State, 2-1, on Sunday afternoon. Senior midfielder Julie Ewing connected in the opening minutes, while sophomore midfielder Vanessa DiBernardo scored in overtime to secure the automatic bid to the upcoming NCAA Tournament. In the 93rd minute, DiBernardo controlled a pass from junior midfielder Nicole Denenberg and placed a shot into the lower-left corner of the goal to send the Illini away from Northwestern’s Lakeside Field undefeated in their previous 11 contests. Check out the game highlights now and dive inside for an interview with Illinois coach Janet Rayfield.
Penn State will face Illinois on Sunday at 4:00 p.m. ET in the Big Ten Women’s Soccer Tournament Championship held at Northwestern. The game will air live on the Big Ten Network. Penn State topped Minnesota 3-1 in the second semi-final after Illinois beat Michigan State 1-0 earlier in the day. Go to NUsports.com for a complete look at the tournament on the tournament central page.
The latest “BTN Soccer Report” previews the Big Ten Women’s Soccer Tournament, which starts Wednesday in Evanston, Ill. Host Kevin Egan is joined in studio by analyst Aron Hyde and analyst Kyndra de St. Aubin calls in. Watch the webisode now for their predictions and tweet @BTNSoccerReport afterward about whether you agree or disagree with their selections. Beginning Wednesday, all four opening-round matchups will be streamed live on BTN.com. The semifinals on Friday and the championship game on Sunday will all be aired live on BTN. Click here for the full bracket.
The weekend saw several of the conference’s soccer and field hockey teams in action. Senior keeper Jeremy Clark tallied his fourth shutout of the year and red-shirt freshman Ryan Keener headed in the game’s only goal as Michigan State (6-7-4, 2-2-2) took back the Big Bear Trophy with a 1-0 victory over rival Michigan. Watch highlights of that game now. Moving to field hockey, Penn State (13-5, 4-2) earned a 4-1 victory over Michigan State on Sunday to close out the regular season and clinch a tie for second place in the Big Ten. Take a dive inside for video highlights from that game and updates on women’s soccer in the Big Ten Conference.