The Redbirds are coming off back-to-back wins for the first time this season.
Sept. 16, 2013
NORMAL, Ill. - Winners of its last two matches, the Illinois State soccer team (4-4-0) will welcome Saint Louis (1-5-1) to Adelaide Street Field, Tuesday at 4 p.m. The match marks the third of four-straight games at home for the Redbirds, and third in five days.
The Redbirds opened up the homestand with two impressive performances, topping Southeast Missouri State, 4-0 on Friday, before upsetting No. 22 Marquette, 3-2 on Sunday. Following the win on Sunday, head coach Drew Roff emphasized to his team the importance maintaining its good form despite the lack of time between matches.
"One thing we always talk about is, whether it's a big win or tough loss, you have to move on," Roff said. "We take that day to either reevaluate some things or celebrate a little bit, whatever it is, and then the next day you have to move on in.
"We definitely have some momentum going forward with some nice results from a couple good weekends for us," Roff continued. "The key is to recognize that we can play some good soccer. There's no doubt about it, but every day you have to show up and be prepared. That's going to be the message moving forward for this one. Let's do some of the things we did well, correct a couple things we could do better, and let's put our energy into the next match."
Scouting the Billikens
The Billikens enter Tuesday's match at 1-5-1, and winless since a season-opening 3-2 victory over Western Michigan. However, after a four-game losing streak in which it was held scoreless, SLU has been showing signs of life lately, battling Evansville to a 1-1 draw, Sept. 8, before falling 3-2 at Iowa, Friday.
This is the second-straight season in which SLU has been under a first-year head coach. Kat Mertz led the Billikens to a 5-9-4 record in her only year as head coach before departing for the same position at Oregon. SLU elevated assistant Katie Shields to the head coach role, the first such position of her career. Shields inherited an experienced roster, including eight
returning starters and 18 returning letterwinners. After finishing 12th in the 16-team Atlantic 10 last season, the Billikens were predicted to finish eighth in the now 13-team league for 2013.
Senior forward Jenny Hummert and junior back Maddy Bush lead the Billikens with two goals and four points apiece. Sophomore Jamei Borges has been a playmaker from the midfield, leading the squad with two assists. Sophomore keeper Hanna Benben has played every minute in goal for the Billikens, posting a 2.08 goals-against average and a .651 saves percentage.
- TEJADA ON A ROLL: Junior Rachel Tejada leads the Missouri Valley Conference with six goals, all of which have come in the Redbirds' last four games, and 15 points. She tallied her third-career hat trick, and first since 2011, in ISU's 4-0 win over SEMO, Friday. Tejada also leads the Valley in points (15), while being tied for second with three assists. She is tied for the program's all-time assists mark, with 22, and is second all-time in points (112, with 126 being the record) and goals (45, with 59 being the record).
- SPREADING THE WEALTH: While Rachel Tejada continued to lead the charge with four goals overall, Illinois State saw offensive contributions from a variety of players during its 2-0 weekend. Three players - Ali Farkos, Dagny Olson and Allie Newsom - scored their first goal of the season last weekend, with Farkos' and Olson's tallies being the first of their careers. Four separate players recorded assists as well, including Gabbi McArtor, who notched her first two assists of the season.
- "D" TAKES SHAPE: After surrendering a combined 13 goals during a three-game losing streak from Aug. 25 through Sept. 1, the ISU defense has stiffened in its last four matches, combining to allow five goals during the 3-1 stretch. Goalkeeper Aryn Newsom has been solid as the last line of defense during the stretch, making 26 saves, including a career-high 13 in the 3-2 win over No. 22 Marquette. Alyse Williams and Gabbi McArtor have each played every minute of those four games.
- HOME SWEET HOME: Tuesday's game against the Billikens is the third in a stretch of four-straight, and five of six, home matches for the Redbirds. Of ISU's remaining 10 matches, only four will be on the road. The Redbirds are 98-31-16 (.731) all-time at Adelaide Street Field, including a 37-9-4 (.780) mark under head coach Drew Roff.
- NEARING THE CENTURY MARK: Head coach Drew Roff is in his seventh season at the helm of the Redbirds, and ninth overall. Roff, who has led ISU to four regular-season MVC titles, three MVC Tournament titles, and three NCAA Tournament appearances, is just two wins shy of 100-career victories (98-55-11).
- NOTHING BUT THE BEST: Seven teams from BCS conferences and five squads that made the NCAA Tournament in 2012, highlight the Redbirds' 2013 schedule. ISU is 2-2 against the NCAA participants, defeating defending Mid-American Conference champion Miami (Ohio), 3-2, and No. 22 Marquette, 3-2.
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