Redbird Soccer Announces 2013 Schedule
May 1, 2013
NORMAL, Ill. - Coming off its second-straight Missouri Valley Conference Tournament title and NCAA Tournament appearance in 2012, the Illinois State soccer team will challenge itself against some of the nation's best programs in a 17-game 2013 schedule, announced by head coach Drew Roff Wednesday.
The Redbirds will play 11 non-conference games, six MVC contests and nine home games at Adelaide Street Field. Of the 11 non-conference opponents, four of them (Miami (Ohio), Wisconsin, Illinois and Milwaukee) joined ISU in the field of 64 last season, with Miami and Illinois advancing out of the first round. Additionally, the slate features three games against Big Ten Conference foes, and three against teams from the Big 12 Conference.
"We feel like we have a very good core of returning players, and we're very excited about the recruiting class coming in, so we felt that 2013 was a great year to really step up and challenge our program like we've never done before," Roff said. "We're very excited. We know that we have our work cut out for us, but we had a successful spring where our players improved individually tremendously. We realize with the schedule we play that we need to prepare to the best of our ability. In order for us to continue to get better, we feel that we need to play the best competition we can. I think stepping outside of our comfort zone a bit will help next year's team reach their full potential."
After two exhibition contests (Aug. 14 at Eastern Michigan and Aug. 18 against Iowa State), the Redbirds officially open the 2013 campaign with a pair of home matches Aug. 23 and 25. The aforementioned RedHawks of Miami (Ohio) will come to ISU for a 4 p.m., contest on Friday the 23rd, before ISU takes on Wisconsin on Sunday the 25th.
Following the season-opening home weekend, the Redbirds will embark on a four-game road stretch, all against BCS conference teams. ISU will play at Minnesota, Friday, Aug. 30, before traveling to Illinois, Sunday, Sept. 1. The following weekend, the Redbirds will head to the Lone Star State for a pair of matches against TCU, Friday, Sept. 6 and Texas, Sunday, Sept. 8.
The Redbirds will then host Southeast Missouri State and Milwaukee on back-to-back Fridays (Sept. 13 and Sept. 20), before playing their final road non-conference match at Kansas, Sunday, Sept. 22. IPFW and Saint Louis will come to Adelaide Street Field, Friday, Sept. 27 and Sunday, Sept. 29, to conclude non-conference play.
ISU will begin its six-game conference slate at Indiana State, who the Redbirds defeated, 5-1, in the 2012 MVC Tournament title match, Friday, Oct. 4. MVC newcomer Loyola Chicago comes to Normal Sunday, October 13, before ISU travels to Northern Iowa, Thursday, October 17. Defending MVC regular-season champion Evansville comes to Adelaide Street Field, Sunday, Oct. 20, followed by Drake, Sunday, Oct. 27. The regular season concludes with a game at Missouri State Thursday, Oct. 31.
"Conference play is always the priority for us," Roff said. "We definitely enjoy the great competition prior to conference play, but the Missouri Valley is always our priority. Our goal is to be the best team over a six-game schedule and get a top seed in the MVC Tournament, which has been the route that we've taken to get to the NCAA Tournament three of the past four seasons. With this schedule, we're always striving to be in the mix for an at-large bid, but the Missouri Valley Conference regular-season and tournament are always going to be the priority."
The quarterfinals of the MVC Tournament will be held on campus sites Sunday, Nov. 3. The semifinals and championship match will be held at a site still to be determined, Friday, Nov. 8 and Sunday, Nov. 10.
The Redbirds reached the 13-win mark for the second-straight season in 2012, going 13-5-2 before being eliminated from the NCAA Tournament by No. 4-seed Marquette, 3-0. ISU returns eight starters from last year's squad, including two-time MVC Player of the Year Rachel Tejada and two-time All-MVC First Team choice Anna Stinson.
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