ISU Hosts IPFW in Final Non-Conference Match
Sept. 26, 2013
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 MastodonsThe 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.
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