ISU Soccer Wins MVC Tournament Title
Nov. 6, 2011
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. - The Illinois State soccer team (13-5-0) claimed its third State Farm Missouri Valley Conference Tournament title in program history with a 5-0, shutout victory over Missouri State (12-5-2) Sunday afternoon at the Cooper Family Soccer Plex in Springfield, Mo. With the win, the Redbirds also received the MVC's automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.
"This win means a lot, because I felt that last year was a bit of a down year for us and our players really made the commitment to come back this year and be an improved group," head coach Drew Roff said. "This last month has been the most enjoyable month I have had in my career as a coach. They are playing great soccer and I am very happy for them, especially for the seniors."
Sophomore Kyla Cross, who was named Valley Tournament Most Valuable Player, opened the scoring in the 13th minute, by chipping a shot over Missouri State goalkeeper Jessica Teahan. Cross finished a pass from senior Jessica Carlson that raised Carlson's single-season assist record to 10.
Cross netted the only goal of the first half, as ISU took a 1-0 lead into the locker room, despite being outshot, 7-6. Redshirt freshman goalkeeper Aryn Newsom made five saves in the first 45 minutes, include a pair late in the half to preserve the lead.
"That early goal was huge, because Missouri State came back strong, especially in the last 15 minutes of the half," Roff said. "They were a little bit quicker to the ball than we were and Aryn had to come up with some big saves for us. However, we came out in the second half and did exactly what we wanted to do. Once we get a couple of goals, it seems like this team feeds off of it and keeps rolling."
The Illinois State offense erupted for four goals in the second half, scoring all four in a span of just over seven minutes. Senior Mary Sahm scored her second goal of the season in the 51st minute to extend the Redbird margin to 2-0.
Just over a minute later, sophomore Anna Stinson delivered a corner kick service to the back post that was finished by junior Rachel Bostick. The goal was Bostick's fourth of the season and the assist was Stinson's eighth.
Freshman Rachel Tejada gave ISU a 4-0 advantage on her 21st goal of the year in the 57th minute to establish a new Illinois State and MVC single-season goals record.
Cross netted her second goal of the contest in the 58th minute to cap the scoring for the Redbirds on an assist from Tejada. The goal was the eighth of the season for Cross and her fourth of the Valley Tournament. Tejada's assist gave her three points for the match and 51 for the season, making the first player in Illinois State soccer history to eclipse the 50-point plateau.
The Redbirds scored 11 goals in their two tournament matches to tie a Valley Tournament record and Cross was joined by senior Natalie McCabe, Carlson and Tejada on the 2011 MVC All-Tournament Team. ISU set a Valley Tournament semifinal record with six goals in a win over Evansville Friday and tied a MVC Tournament championship match record with its five goals against the Bears.
"Kyla is a player that has a lot of ability and is putting it all together here at the end of the season," Roff said. "She has been dynamite this past month and has been a nightmare to defend. She has been the catalyst of our late-season surge and has really picked her game up. It has been great to see and I'm really happy for her."
Illinois State will learn its NCAA Tournament opponent on Monday afternoon. The NCAA Division I Women's Soccer selection show will air live on NCAA.com at 3:30 CST.
"We set three goals at the beginning of the season; to win the regular-season, to win the conference tournament and to be the first team from the Valley to win a NCAA Tournament game," Roff said. "We are definitely not just happy to be in the tournament, we want to see if we can get to the second round."
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