Redbird Soccer Returns Home for Mid-Week Tilt with Green Bay
Sept. 18, 2012
NORMAL, Ill. - For just the third time this season, the Illinois State (5-2-2) soccer team will play a match at Adelaide Street Field, as the Redbirds welcome the Green Bay Phoenix (3-4-0) Wednesday at 3 p.m. The Redbirds are looking for their first home victory of 2012, while they have gone 5-1-1 away from Normal.
"We are excited to be back home," head coach Drew Roff said. "We're going to try to play our style and a quality 90 minutes. We want to head in to conference play with some momentum. We know that this match will be a battle, but it is really about how we play at this point."
Green Bay is a familiar foe for the Redbird program, although Roff has only coached against them twice. The Redbirds and Phoenix played every year from ISU soccer's inception in 1996 through 2008, except one. The Redbirds hold a 9-3-0 series advantage. While the two squads haven't officially played since 2008, they met in an exhibition match last season and in the 2012 spring campaign.
The Phoenix enter Wednesday's match at 3-4-0, having won two-consecutive games and three of their last four overall. The 2012 squad features nine starters from last year's team that went 3-11-4, although 23 of the 29 players are still underclassmen. Senior Megan Braatz leads the team in goals and points, with three and seven, respectively. Freshman Maria Lillge also has two goals for the Phoenix, while sophomore Emily Friedl leads the squad with two assists. In goal will be sophomore Emily Pilarzyk, who has only allowed eight goals in her seven games.
Leading the offensive attack for the Redbirds will be MVC Offensive Player of the Week Rachel Tejada. Tejada ranks fourth nationally in goals, with her 10 tallies being one shy of a three-way tie for first. She also sits in the top-ten for points (5th with 23), points per game (7th with 2.56) and goals per game (7th with 1.11). Tejada leads the Valley by wide margins in goals, goals per game, points and points per game, while being second in assists, assists per game (0.33), game-winning goals (2) and shots (31).
The Redbirds are coming off two victories in Ohio over Bowling Green and Toledo, giving them their first winning streak of 2012. Kyla Cross and Tejada scored in the 2-1 victory over the Falcons, while Sarah Mussallem netted the game's lone goal in a 1-0 win over Toledo. Aryn Newsom recorded her second shutout of the season in the win over the Rockets.
Following Wednesday's home match, the Redbirds will hit the road again, opening up Missouri Valley Conference play at Evansville Sunday, Sept. 23 at 1 p.m.
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