No. 25 Illinois Tips Kansas, 2-1

LAWRENCE, Kan. –¬†Despite senior Nicole Cauzillo’s first goal of the season, 25th-ranked Illinois scored a 2-1 triumph over Kansas Friday evening at the Jayhawk Soccer Complex.

The Fighting Illini improve to 4-2 overall, while the Jayhawks drop to 1-6-1.

Illinois scored in the 42nd and 55th minute, and then withstood a furious rally by the Jayhawks in the second half. The pressure KU applied in the second half culminated in Cauzillo’s first tally since 2004, in the 81st minute.

After the Jayhawks earned a corner kick, senior Emily Strinden collected a misplayed ball by the Illini defense and connected with Cauzillo, who blasted a shot to the far post to cut the deficit to 2-1.

The Jayhawks tried frantically to gain the equalizer in the final 10 minutes, but could not find the back of the net. Cauzillo led the charge with a career-high five shots, including two on net.

“Tonight was a tough game,” Kansas head coach Mark Francis said. “We played very well and had some quality chances. But we still need to do a better job in the attacking third of the field to compete against this caliber of an opponent.”

Illinois got on the board in the final minutes of the first half when Emily Zurrer scored her third goal of the season, getting a touch on a cross from the near side of the box between two defenders.

The Illini took a 2-0 lead early in the second half when Chichi Nweke came away with the ball after a scramble in the middle and scored on a breakaway.

Kansas goalkeepers Colleen Quinn and Julie Hanley combined to make three saves.

Kansas put four shots on Illinois’ tandem of goalkeepers and held a slight 4-3 advantage in corner kicks.

The Jayhawks will look to bounce back Sunday with a 1 p.m. contest against No. 19 Cal at the Jayhawk Soccer Complex.