ISU Hosts IPFW in Final Non-Conference Match

Sept. 26, 2013

Week 6: Illinois state vs. IPFW
Dates: Sept. 27
Time: 4 p.m. CT
Location: Normal, Ill. (Adelaide Street Field)
Game Notes: Illinois State
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NORMAL, Ill. - The Illinois State soccer team (5-6-0) will play its final non-conference game, Friday, when it welcomes the IPFW Mastodons to Adelaide Street Field for a 4 p.m., kickoff.

The Redbirds entered last weekend on a three-game winning streak, but lost two-straight to fall back below .500. ISU fell to Milwaukee at home, 2-1, Friday, before losing at Kansas, 2-0, Sunday. Rachel Tejada scored the lone ISU goal, her league-best eighth of the season.

The Redbirds were able to generate opportunities in the two losses, outshooting both of their opponents (10-8 vs. Milwaukee and 23-20 vs. Kansas), but have not scored a goal for three-plus halves. With only one game this weekend, head coach Drew Roff hopes his team can recover physically from its 11-game opening month, while also fine-tuning the offense in its final non-conference game.

“That sharpness, whether it’s the final pass, or the final shot, for some reason we just couldn’t get that well-timed goal that would spark us and help elevate our team,” Roff said. “It was a frustrating weekend, in that sense. The effort was good, the quality of play was good as well, but we needed that big play, and couldn’t find it. It was frustrating, but I think everyone is motivated now to get their legs underneath them and physically and mentally get ready for conference play.”

Scouting the Mastodons

The Mastodons entered 2013 with hopes of building upon a school-record 10 wins in 2012. However, a five-match winless drought, during which it hasn’t scored, has IPFW entering Friday’s match at 2-6-0 overall. After opening the season with an overtime loss against Wright State and wins over Northern Iowa and Ball State, the Mastodons have been outscored in their last five matches by a combined 11-0. Most recently, IPFW fell at Oakland, 3-0.

The Mastodons are still waiting for offensive contributions from players who helped lead the squad to a runner-up finish in the Summit League Tournament last year. While leading scorer Danielle Bishop graduated, IPFW still returned sophomore Rachel Good (4 G, 2 A), junior Sydney Hoareau (3 G, 2 A) and sophomore Erin Gill (3 G, 1 A). None of that trio has scored in 2013, however, with only Gill (one assist) recording a point. Freshman Gaby Romo has picked up some of the slack by scoring two goals to lead the team. Sophomore Brooke Bishir and freshman Hailey Mariotti have scored once apiece to round out IPFW’s offensive output.

The Mastodons have been solid defensively, limiting their opponents to 1.62 goals-per-game and recording two shutouts. Sophomore goalkeeper Sam Pavlika has been a steady presence for IPFW, making 45 saves. As his team looks to get back on track offensively, Roff knows that the IPFW defense will present a tough task.

“I know they will be well-organized, disciplined and work very hard,” Roff said of the Mastodons. “They are in the same boat that we are. Everyone wants to go into conference play with confidence and feeling like they are ready to make a run in their respective league.”

ISU and IPFW have met three times previously, with the Redbirds prevailing in every match. The series began with back-to-back games in 2005 and 2006, before the most-recent 2008 meeting, which the Redbirds won, 3-1.

Quick Kicks

  • TEJADA CONTINUES TO SHINE: After leading the Missouri Valley Conference in points and goals in her first two seasons en route to MVC Player of the Year honors, junior Rachel Tejada finds herself atop the league’s leaderboards again. After going goalless in the Redbirds’ first four matches, Tejada bounced back with goals in six-straight games from Sept. 6-Sept. 22, giving her a MVC-best 20 points and eight goals.
  • LACKING THE SCORING TOUCH: After scoring 11 goals during a three-game winning streak, culminating with a 4-1 win against Saint Louis (Sept. 17), the Redbirds were held to just two tallies during a 0-2 weekend. The slip off hasn’t been due to a lack of scoring chances, however, as the Redbirds outshot both Milwaukee (10-8) and Kansas (23-20) in the two losses. The 23 shots fired against the Jayhawks is a season-best.
  • NON-CON SLATE CONCLUDES: Friday’s home match against IPFW will mark the conclusion of Illinois State’s non-conference schedule. The Redbirds have managed to pick up some quality victories through their first 11 games, going 2-5 against teams from high-major conferences (wins over TCU and No. 22 Marquette) and 2-3 against teams that made the NCAA Tournament in 2012 (wins over Miami (Ohio) and No. 22 Marquette).
  • “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 seven matches, never allowing more than two goals during the 4-3 stretch. Goalkeeper Aryn Newsom has been solid as the last line of defense, as her goals-against average has dropped from 3.86 on Sept. 1 to 2.13 entering the week. Backs Alyse Williams and Gabbi McArtor have each played every minute of those seven games, while Abby Van Deventer has gone the distance in six-straight.
  • HOME SWEET HOME: Friday’s game against the Mastodons is the seventh at Adelaide Street Field this season for the Redbirds, already matching last season’s total. ISU is 4-2-0 at home in 2013 and 99-32-16 (.728) all-time at Adelaide Street Field, including a 38-10-4 (.769) 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 one win shy of 100-career victories (99-57-11).

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