Redbirds Outlast Cyclones in Exhibition Action
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NORMAL, Ill. - A span of three goals in eight minutes during the second half gave the Illinois State soccer team a 4-0 lead that withstood a late Iowa State charge, as the Redbirds earned a 4-3 exhibition victory over the Cyclones, Sunday afternoon at Adelaide Street Field. Rachel Tejada scored twice for the Redbirds, while Kyla Cross and Dagny Olson added one goal apiece.
Tejada scored twice in the 56th minute to give Illinois State a comfortable four-goal advantage. From there, the Redbirds went to the bench to gain younger players experience in their final exhibition match, as the Cyclones scored three times in the game's final 20 minutes.
"It's an exhibition game, and we always look for the result, but we wanted to see some things about our players and team," head coach Drew Roff said. "We're happy with the way things turned out."
Olson scored the lone goal of the first half in the 19th minute. The freshman briefly lost possession of the ball after a long run, before regaining control and trickling it by the Iowa State keeper to put the Redbirds up 1-0.
Cross continued the scoring just over two minutes into the second half with an unassisted tally to make it 2-0, before intercepting an Iowa State free kick less than eight minutes later and playing in Tejada. The junior converted the one-on-one opportunity with the Cyclone keeper, making it 3-0 Redbirds. Just 39 seconds later, Tejada gathered a rebound off a shot by Hannah Leinert and put it in the back of the net to give Illinois State a 4-0 advantage with 34 minutes remaining.
"We have some smart players," Roff said, commenting on his team's ability to score in spurts. "They have some athleticism and technique, but they recognize what the defense is giving them and, if it worked once, might as well try it again. We found a little something we thought we could exploit, and once we get on a roll, it picks everybody up."
The 4-0 lead held up until the 71st minute, when Theresa Kucera converted a penalty kick to get the Cyclones on the board. Hayley Womack continued the surge by scoring in 79th and 86th minute, before the Redbirds held on for the one-goal win.
With the victory, the Redbirds finish preseason play a perfect 2-0, scoring a total of nine goals in the two matches. They will officially kick off the season Friday at home against Miami (Ohio).
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