Redbirds Claim Outright Valley Title with 3-0 Win Over Drake
Anna Stinson's (8) goal was the game-winner, while Kyla Cross (10) added an assist
Anna Stinson's (8) goal was the game-winner, while Kyla Cross (10) added an assist

Oct. 27, 2013

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NORMAL, Ill. - The Illinois State soccer team clinched the Missouri Valley Conference regular-season championship outright with a 3-0 victory over Drake, Sunday afternoon at Adelaide Street Field. The title is the ninth in program-history for ISU, and fifth for head coach Drew Roff in his seven seasons at the helm.

ISU's (11-6-0, 5-0-0 MVC) victory over Drake (3-10-4, 1-3-1 MVC) was their sixth-straight overall, and 10th-consecutive win over Valley teams dating back to last season. The Redbirds have outscored MVC foes 15-1 over their five conference wins, which include four-straight shutouts. While the Redbirds will now turn their attention to their final regular-season match and the upcoming MVC Tournament, Roff and his team still took the opportunity to reflect on the significance of the accomplishment.

"After coming in second it last year, this is definitely something we wanted to accomplish, and today was a good way to do it," Roff said following the clinching win. "Another shutout was key. We've shown the ability to not give up goals during this run, which is huge.

"It was a nice accomplishment," Roff continued. "We definitely never want to get to the point where we don't appreciate it and celebrate, but after today we have some other things in our sights that we need to focus on."

Illinois State drew first blood for the sixth-straight game, improving to 9-1 when scoring first, on a goal by Anna Stinson just 90 seconds in. After a DU foul, Rachel Tejada caught the Bulldogs off guard with a quick restart by rolling a pass up to Stinson. Stinson dribbled into the box before maneuvering free to take a shot that deflected off a Drake player and in for her second goal of the season and a 1-0 Redbird lead.

"Anytime you can score that early, it sets the tone," Roff said. "Unfortunately, sometimes an early goal makes you relax a little bit because you feel like `Oh, this is going to be easy today,' but that's not the kind of game this was. Drake came here to battle and they played hard, but we'll take that early one every time if we can get it."

The Redbirds doubled their advantage 29 minutes later on a goal by Tejada in the 31st minute. Hannah Leinert cut a pass from the left side of the box to Tejada in the center, who fired a shot into the back of the net to make it 2-0 Illinois State. Tejada's goal gives her a league-leading 33 points and 13 goals, and moves her career-point total to 130, two shy of the all-time MVC mark. Leinert's assist was her sixth of the season, and 24th point.

ISU took the 2-0 lead into halftime before adding a third goal in the 55th minute. Kyla Cross tracked down a loose ball in the right side of the penalty area before slotting a pass to Dagny Olson at the top of the box. Olson took a few quick touches to create space before sneaking a shot inside the right post that increased the Redbird advantage to 3-0. Olson's goal was her sixth of the season, the third-most on the team, while Cross increased her league-leading assists total to eight.

The defensive combination of Gabbi McArtor, Rhianna Krutz and Abby Van Deventer played all 90 minutes each for the fourth-straight game, all shutouts, with Sara Stankoskey and Kara Morway contributing along the back line as well. Goalkeeper Aryn Newsom made five saves, the most she has been required to in the last six matches, to post her sixth clean sheet this season.

Illinois State will conclude the regular-season at Missouri State, Thursday, at 7 p.m. The Redbirds will begin play in the MVC Tournament as the top seed with a semifinal match, Nov. 8 in Evansville, Ind.

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