Exhibition Schedule Closes With 1-1 Draw Against EMU
NORMAL, Ill. - Sarah Mussallem's equalizing goal with less than five minutes remaining assured a draw for the Illinois State soccer team in its exhibition conclusion against Eastern Michigan Sunday at Adelaide Street Field. The Redbirds played a total of three exhibition contests, winning one and drawing the other two, and open up the regular season Friday, Aug. 17 at Southeast Missouri State.
"There are some areas that I thought would be better that weren't, and there are always questions, but I think we're in pretty good shape," head coach Drew Roff said of where his team stands as the regular season approaches. "We understand where the best players should play and how we want to play. It's just a matter of continuing to work on it so we can play that way."
Mussallem's goal came in the 85th minute. The freshman from Palos Heights, Ill., gathered a pass from Heather Sterling near the penalty arc and ripped a shot in to the top-right corner of the net. The play marked the first points of the exhibition schedule for both players, but the statistics will be wiped clean entering the regular season Friday.
Eastern Michigan opened the scoring in the 70th minute, as sophomore Angela Vultaggio got behind the ISU defense and was one-on-one with Redbird keeper Mara Kremenovic. Kremenovic was able to deny Vultaggio initially, but last season's Mid-American Conference Newcomer of the Year trickled the rebound over the goal line to put the Eagles up 1-0.
Kremenovic, starting for the first time in the exhibition season, stopped two other point-blank opportunities from the Eagles and finished with seven saves overall. ISU registered 13 total shots, with two apiece from Lauren Koehl, Kyla Cross, Rachel Tejada and Mussallem, compared to EMU's 12.
Despite the even score at the conclusion of 90 minutes, no overtime periods were conducted, since the match was an exhibition.
Following their road game Friday, the Redbirds will return to Adelaide Street Field for a clash against 18th ranked Illinois on Sunday, Aug. 19. The game will feature Pack the Field, Youth Day and Last Blast Before Class promotions as the Redbirds look to defeat their in-state rival for the first time since 2004.
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