ISU Soccer Opens Preseason at Green Bay
Aug. 9, 2011
NORMAL, Ill. - NORMAL, Ill. - The Illinois State soccer team will open its 2011 preseason slate Wednesday afternoon in Green Bay, Wis., as the Redbirds take on Green Bay at 1 p.m. inside Aldo Santaga Stadium.
ISU finished the 2010 season with a 9-7-2 overall record and finished third in the Missouri Valley Conference regular-season standings with a 3-2-1 league mark. In 2011, the Redbirds will be looking to claim their fourth MVC regular-season championship and make a second NCAA Tournament appearance under fifth-year head coach Drew Roff.
"We have a great combination of newcomers and returners," Roff said. "We are coming off of a great spring and are fortunate enough to have some returners that had good results in the spring, since we have such a limited amount of time to get the team together in the fall. We have added nine freshmen and several of them are getting looks in the preseason, so we can get an idea of what they can bring to our team in the regular season."
Illinois State returns 17 letterwinners from last season, including seniors Jessica Carlson and Natalie McCabe, who were All-MVC First-Team selections last season. Carlson led the ISU offense with 19 points on seven goals and five assists, while McCabe led the Redbird defense to four shutouts and a 1.18 goals against average. Junior goalkeeper Mara Kremenovic is another key returner for Illinois State, as she played every minute in goal last season and recorded four shutouts and 77 saves.
"In this first exhibition game, we will focus a lot on our defensive organization," Roff said. "Offensively, we know that it takes time to build a quality attack, but we feel like we should be able to defend well and defend as a team early on. We need to get everyone on the same page defensively so we can spend more time in the future putting the ball in the goal. Right now, defensive organization is key and we are looking to make sure we are winning the ball and keeping possession."
Green Bay finished its 2010 campaign with a 3-9-4 overall record and went 1-5-2 in Horizon League matches. The Phoenix allowed just 15 goals last season and return starting goalkeeper Maddie Drusch. Drusch posted four shutouts and a 0.91 goals against average after allowing just 14 goals in 15 contests.
The Redbirds will wrap up their preseason schedule with a home match against IUPUI Sunday, Aug. 14, at Noon, before welcoming Southeast Missouri State to Adelaide Street Field for the 2011 regular-season opener Aug. 19 at 4 p.m. Wednesday's exhibition is the only road contest for Illinois State until Aug. 26, when ISU travels to Boston.
"I think opening on the road is very helpful to our newcomers, because it allows them to get the experience of being on the road and understanding our routine and schedule when we are traveling," Roff said. "They will learn early on how we train and how we prepare for an opponent when we are on the road. It also allows for the team to bond and come together without too many distractions."
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