Maple Ridge secondary grad Steph Panozzo is making the most of her increased playing time in net as she received her first Big Ten Conference Defensive Player of the Week women’s soccer award on Monday.
The University of Illinois junior goalkeeper stopped seven shots combined against the University of Wisconsin Badgers and the University of Minnesota Golden Gophers in NCAA Division I action last weekend to register the third and fourth straight 1-0 victories for the UI Illini.
Panozzo is in her first season as Illinois’ starter in goal, and has stepped up her play in net since Illinois began conference action, helping to account for the Orange and Blue’s second place standing in the Big Ten Conference entering the final two weeks of the season.
Panozzo currently has the most in-conference shutouts among Big Ten goalies, with four, and has the second-lowest goals-against average during conference-only matches, with 0.71 tallies allowed per game. Panozzo was also selected the SoccerSavings.com/Chicagoland Soccer News Women’s College Player of the Week this week.
In her first two seasons with the Illini, Panozzo saw limited game action, appearing in just six games.
Panozzo has had a long history with the Canadian national development program, representing Canada at the 2008 CONCACAF U-20 Women’s Championship in Puebla, Mexico and the 2008 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup in Chile.
She also played three seasons with the Vancouver Whitecaps W-League squad and led the North Shore Storm to provincial championship three times.
Panozzo is majoring in business while at UI and was a member of the honour roll for five years while at at Maple Ridge Secondary.