Redbirds to "Kick for a Cure" Sunday Against Loyola
Oct. 11, 2013
NORMAL, Ill. - The Illinois State soccer team (7-6-0, 1-0-0 MVC) welcomes Loyola (4-6-4, 1-1-0 MVC) to Adelaide Street Field, Sunday at 1 p.m., for a Missouri Valley Conference tilt. The match is the Redbirds’ third-annual “Kick for a Cure” game, during which they will wear pink uniforms to raise breast cancer awareness.
With wins in their last two matches, the Redbirds have climbed back above .500 for the third time this season. Their most-recent match was a 2-1 victory at Indiana State, Oct. 4, in the MVC opener. Despite the victory, the Redbirds were outshot 9-6, while posting their second-lowest shot total of the season. Head coach Drew Roff is happy with his team’s unblemished MVC mark, but realizes that his squad needs to take it to another level to compete for a conference title moving forward.
“That feeling that we have when we are really playing well and everybody is firing on all cylinders, we haven’t quite hit that gear yet,” Roff said. “We’re going to keep striving for that. This week is a big week for us, because we have a lot of time to practice and a big game on Sunday. I’m hoping that this Sunday is the start of something good for us.”
Scouting the RamblersAfter winning their MVC-opener, 2-1, against Indiana State on Sept. 27, the Ramblers have gone winless in their last three matches.
The Ramblers have utilized a balanced offensive attack under head coach Barry Bimbi in their first season in the Valley. Nine players have scored at least one goal, while 10 have tallied at least two points, which are both even with ISU for most in the conference. Junior Sammy Gage leads the way with four goals, which is double her career total coming in to this season. Freshman Shelby Koch has been utilized as a playmaker in the back, as she leads the team with four assists.
A stout defense is what has keyed the Ramblers, as they have not given up more than one goal in each of their wins and draws, while also posting four shutouts. Three of LU’s six returning starters from last year’s 8-9-3 team are defenders, while the Ramblers also brought back junior goalkeeper Monica Gonyo. After tying a LU single-season record with eight shutouts last season, Gonyo’s four this year are tied for the most in the league.
While Sunday’s match will be the first between the Redbirds and Ramblers as conference foes, the two squads have met 11 times previously. ISU holds an 8-3 mark against LU, including last season’s 1-0 victory on Oct. 3.
“It’s a team we’ve played in the past because of the proximity to Chicago, but never in a conference game,” Roff said of Loyola. “It’s always been one of those games where, like every game, you want to win, but it’s probably more preparation for conference play. Now, here we are in the same conference. It will be a little different, but we think we have a pretty good idea of what they do, and I’m sure they have a pretty good idea of what we do. We’re familiar with each other.”
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