OXFORD, Ohio - Patricia Koutoulas stood strong with a career performance in goal, but it wasn't enough in the Miami soccer team's Sunday afternoon tilt against Illinois.
Koutoulas stopped 10 of 11 Fighting Illini (3-3) shots, but the RedHawks (0-5) ultimately fell by a 1-0 count.
"Pat had a great warm up and I think she felt she had to prove something to her teammates today and she did that in spades," Interim Head Coach Hugh Seyfarth said. "She was absolutely tremendous and kept us in this one."
The Fighting Illini controlled the ball for large portions of the first half, generating eight shot attempts and six corner kicks compared to just one of each from the RedHawks. Koutoulas was busy making some stellar stops, including sprawling saves on Lauren Ciesla in the 20th minute and Patricia George in the 39th minute.
One of those chances eventually found the net for Illinois as a through ball sprung George in the 33rd minute of play. Her point blank shot was stopped by Koutoulas coming off her line, but the rebound caromed quickly off a Miami player and took a 180 turn, lofting directly into the vacated net to make it a 1-0 contest. That score held at halftime.
Koutoulas was tested early on in the second half as the Fighting Illini hunted for some breathing room. She made one-on-one stops on Katie Murray in the 46th minute and further point blank stops on Kara Marbury in the 50th and 82nd minute of play.
After withstanding the early Illinois onslaught, Miami started to string together passes and threaten more in the attacking third. Olivia Winnett was in the middle of a couple opportunities in the final minutes as she landed a shot on goal with a clean look from 20 yards out that Jaelyn Cunningham stopped in the 76th minute. She then came through a seam in the 82nd minute and lofted a tricky shot that went just wide of the cage in the 82nd minute. MU's last bid came in the 83rd minute on an attempt that got blocked as Illinois held on for the shutout win.
The Fighting Illini ended up with a 19-6 shot advantage overall while also edging the RedHawks 10-2 on corner kick tries. Koutoulas' 10 saves represent a career best while Cunningham finished with three saves for the shutout.
Miami returns to the pitch on Friday when it travels to Evansville for a 6:30 p.m. ET tilt against the Purple Aces.