Fighting Illini's persistence pays off with late rally
[ILLINOIS-PORTLAND: Women] Illinois produced the biggest comeback of the NCAA Women's Tournament, rallying from two goals down in the second half with a pair of
penalty kicks and beating No. 3 regional seed Portland, 4-3, on Janelle Flaws' golden goal, the 23rd goal of the season to tie Rachel Daly of St. John's for the most in the nation.
Megan Pawloski stole the ball on a Portland free kick outside the Pilots' area
and sent a pass to Flaws, who scored in the winner in the 108th minute.
"Megan took advantage of a mistake on their free kick," Flaws said. "I knew if I got myself open in the box she
would find me. There were some shots earlier that I think I should have put away, so I was just concentrating on taking advantage of that opportunity, going one-on-one with the keeper in the box."
The Pilots had 2-0 and 3-1 leads before Illinois rallied on penalty kicks by Vanessa DiBernardo, her second goal of the game, and Flaws.
"We are just fighting and truly living up to the name Fighting Illini," Illinois coach Janet Rayfield said. "We were playing good soccer from the start and were
getting chances. We told the team at halftime to keep believing and just try to get the goals one at a time. We just kept at it until we could get ones into the back of the net. I give a lot of credit
to this team for being persistent."
Temperatures remained in the teens throughout the entire match, and the field had to be cleared of snow before
the game began.
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