Mraz Lifts UIS with Late Goal during GLVC Opener


Photographs courtesy of Randy E. Blue

University of Illinois Springfield (UIS) women’s soccer senior Taylor Mraz delivered a game-winning goal in the 89th minute to lift the Prairie Stars to a 1-0 victory during Friday’s Great Lakes Valley Conference (GLVC) opener at Kiwanis Stadium.

   “This was a good first win for us,” UIS coach Erin Egolf said. “It wasn’t always pretty, but the girls persevered and found a way to win.

  Mraz capitalized with a breakaway off a cross-field pass from UIS goalkeeper Paloma Guijarro. Guijarro was credited with the assist.

  “This was a great way to start conference play,” Mraz acknowledged. “We fought hard for 90 minutes and got the result we wanted.”

   Amanda Kaitwasser created a baseline drive for Maryville (1-1-2, 0-1) during the third minute. She found Casey Gonzales open in the box, but her shot went high.

    UIS came out with more aggression in the second half, which allowed UIS to create more scoring opportunities.

   “We definitely came out a difference team in the second half and saw some good chances” Egolf recalled.

  Mraz made a drive to the goal for the Prairie Stars (1-2-2, 1-0) with a left-side approach 74 minutes into the match, but Maryville’s Allison Riddle came up with the save.

  Allison Verville created a breakaway for Maryville during the 82nd minute, but Guijarro shut down the shot.

  Following a foul 84 minutes into the match, Verville was given a free kick going in. Verville served a pass to Kaitwasser, but her shot was blocked by UIS.

  Mraz cashed in the pass from Guijarro in the 89th minute to seal the victory.

   “It was a very nice finish by Taylor late in the game.” Mraz contributed two shots. The Crystal Lake native provided both of UIS’s shots on goal.

   Ally Fisher turned in two shots and Allison Hackett recorded a shot.

  Verville paced the Saints with five shots. Alex Johnson, Claudia King and Gonzales registered three shots apiece while Kaitwasser added two shots.

   Guijarro picked up her second shutout of the season, collecting four saves along the way.

   “Our back four and Paloma recorded a well-deserved shutout. Overall, I’m pleased with the effort and it’s always special to find the first win of the season.”

    Riddle saved one of the two shots she faced.

    The Saints outshot the Prairie Stars 16-5 and held a 4-2 advantage in shots on target.

    “It was a hard-fought battle, but we got the result in the end,” Guijarro commented. “This was an important win for us and a great way to open GLVC play.”

    “I’m so proud of the effort every single one of us had on the field and can’t wait to see what we do next,” Mraz added.