Redbirds Earn MVC Tournament Bye With 2-1 Win Over Drake
Oct. 25, 2012Box Score | Postgame Interview
DES MOINES, Iowa - A second-half goal from Anna Stinson and numerous key plays down the stretch from keeper Aryn Newsom led the Illinois State soccer team (11-4-2, 4-2-0 MVC) to a 2-1 win at Drake (12-5-2, 3-1-2 MVC) Thursday night at Cownie Stadium. With the win, ISU leaped the Bulldogs to finish second in the conference and earn a bye into the semifinals of the MVC Tournament.
"We really had to dig deep for this win," head coach Drew Roff said. "It was a very hostile environment, and Drake is a quick and great team that gave us some problems. It seemed like the game was getting away from us a little bit early in the second half, but we just dug our heels in and kept grinding away."
The game was tied 1-1 entering the second half before the Bulldogs got the 30 mph wind behind their backs and controlled play to open the period. However, the Redbirds regained the momentum and the lead with Stinson's goal in the 59th minute, her second of the season. Rachel Tejada played a ball from midfield to the ISU junior, who dribbled to the edge of the box and fired a shot by Drake keeper Kalena Litch.
"We put Anna up top on the wing for a little bit, because I thought she might be able to hold the ball for us a little bit more," Roff said. "She got in on a great feed from Tejada, cut off the defender, and buried the shot inside the far post. I was really happy to see her get that goal, and it was obviously huge for the team."
From there, the Redbirds maintained the momentum by keeping much of the game in their offensive end, outshooting the Bulldogs 9-4 in the second half and 21-12 overall. However, Newsom was called upon to make four saves in the second half, and also went up among attacking Drake players numerous times to snag free-kicks and crosses sent into the box.
"Aryn was very solid down the stretch, dealing with a heavy wind in her face, coming out to grab a couple of crosses and making some great saves," Roff said. "She gave us a championship-level performance tonight."
Newsom made eight saves on the evening, her second-most this season and most since stopping a career-high 10 shots against No. 19 Illinois Aug. 19.
Tejada opened the game's scoring in the sixth minute with her league-leading 15th goal of the season. Kyla Cross battled down the right side and sent a cross into the penalty area, where Tejada was waiting to head the ball in. It was Cross' third assist of the season.
The Bulldogs evened the match in the 36th minute. Laura Moklestad was matched up with Gabbi McArtor in the penalty area and fired a shot that McArtor blocked. However, Moklestad secured the rebound and put a shot past Newsom to equalize as the first half wound down.
Senior back Kristin Cooley started the 71st-straight game of her career and played all 90 minutes, becoming the program's all-time leader in minutes played with 6,322. She surpasses 2009 teammate Danielle Mutters, who was eight minutes ahead of Cooley entering the match.
ISU, the defending tournament champion, will begin play against either No. 3-seed Drake or No. 6-seed Creighton in Omaha, Neb., on Friday, Nov. 2.
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