Leinert's Hat Trick Leads Redbirds to Third-Straight MVC Title
Freshman Hannah Leinert scored five goals in the tournament, including a hat trick in the final, on her way to MVP honors
Freshman Hannah Leinert scored five goals in the tournament, including a hat trick in the final, on her way to MVP honors

Nov. 10, 2013

Final Stats |  Photo Gallery 

EVANSVILLE, Ind. - The top-seeded Illinois State soccer team won its third-straight Missouri Valley Conference Tournament championship with a 5-0 victory over No. 2 seed Indiana State, Sunday afternoon at McCutchan Stadium. With the title, the program's fifth all-time and fourth in the past five years, the Redbirds earn a spot in the NCAA Tournament.

Freshman Hannah Leinert scored the Redbirds' (14-6-0) first three goals of the game, becoming the first player to tally a hat trick in the championship match of the MVC Tournament, and was named the tournament's MVP. Ali Farkos and Kyla Cross found the back of the net as well for ISU, while Rachel Tejada recorded a career-high three assists, giving her a program-record 12 for the season.

Combined with their 6-0 regular-season, the Redbirds became the first team in league-history to go 8-0 in a campaign against Valley competition. The 14 wins equal a single-season record, while the nine-game winning streak is also a program-best. Illinois State became the second team all-time to win three-straight titles, and first since Evansville won four-straight from 1996-99. Head coach Drew Roff believes the experience his team gained from the previous two titles was integral to Sunday's performance.

"We look at every season as a separate year, but we obviously had several players who were comfortable in today's setting, and that was very important," Roff said. "For us to play as well as we did, that leadership really came through. I'm really proud and happy for them, but every year is a different year. For this team to go 8-0 against the league, that is a pretty special accomplishment and something to be very proud of."

Leinert's first goal opened the scoring in the 26th minute, when she collected a rebound from a shot by Tejada and put it into the open net for a 1-0 Redbird lead. Her next goal came in the 50th minute, when she took a pass from Tejada in the box and beat the INS keeper to make it a 2-0 advantage. Leinert completed the hat trick in the 54th minute, when Anna Stinson found her with a through ball. Leinert dribbled around the Indiana State keeper before finishing to make it 3-0 Illinois State and tie Tejada for the league-lead with 15 goals.

"She's dynamite," Roff said of Leinert. "She's strong, she's fast, and she's fearless. She also doesn't stop, she just keeps going."

Farkos scored her second goal of the season in the 66th minute, sneaking a shot from 24 yards out inside the left post after a feed from Tejada. Cross followed with her sixth goal of the season less than two minutes later, when she headed home a free kick service from Rhianna Krutz.

The defensive combination of Gabbi McArtor, Krutz, Abby Van Deventer, Sara Stankoskey and Kara Morway limited the Sycamores' opportunities in front of goalkeeper Aryn Newsom, who made six saves, as the unit posted its seventh clean sheet of the season.

Newsom, Tejada and Dagny Olson joined Leinert on the all-tournament team.

The Redbirds will learn their NCAA Tournament opponent during Monday's selection show, which will air on NCAA.com at 3:30 p.m.

GoRedbirds.com: Your online source for Illinois State Athletics, tickets, Weisbecker Scholarship Fund gifts, multimedia, Redbird merchandise, photos and more.