Redbird Soccer Closes Regular Season at Drake Thursday
Oct. 24, 2012
NORMAL, Ill. - The Illinois State soccer team (10-4-2, 3-2-0 MVC) will conclude its regular season when it travels to Drake (12-4-2, 3-0-2 MVC) Thursday, Oct. 25 for a 6 p.m., kick-off. Depending on their match, and the other two in the Missouri Valley Conference Thursday, the Redbirds can finish anywhere from second to fifth place in the league.
If the Redbirds win, they will finish second in the league and earn an automatic bye into the semifinals of the MVC Tournament in Omaha, Neb., Nov. 2. With a draw, ISU is guaranteed a first-round home match, while a loss could result in either a home or road first-round match. Those would be played Sunday, Oct. 28. The Bulldogs, on the other hand, would clinch their first regular-season MVC title since 2006 with a win Thursday.
"With the seeding implications, this match is huge," head coach Drew Roff said. "We want to try to avoid that play-in game, and being top-two in the league is something that we always want to achieve."
The Redbirds have won two-straight matches and seven of their last nine overall. Lauren Koehl scored the game-winning goal in ISU's last match, a 1-0 victory over Missouri State Oct. 21. The shutout was the Redbirds' fifth this season.
The Last Meeting
September 25, 2011
The Bulldogs statistically have the MVC's toughest defense, as they enter the week having allowed only 17 goals for a 0.92 goals against average. Junior keeper Kalena Litch has played every minute in goal and ranks second in the conference in goals allowed (17), goals against average (0.92), save percentage (.833) and saves (85), while being tied for first with seven shutouts. Junior Megan Fisher, a 2011 All-MVC First Team selection, anchors the Bulldogs' back line.
"Drake obviously has good team spirit and believes in themselves," Roff said. "They are also undefeated at home this year, so that's a huge home field advantage they have. We're expecting a team that is going to be very hungry and motivated, but we will be too. It will be a good match."
The Redbirds hold a 7-5-2 record against the Bulldogs all-time, but the series has seen one streak from each team. The Redbirds never beat the Bulldogs in seven tries from 2002-2006. However, since Roff took over in 2007, ISU has won all seven meetings against Drake. The Bulldogs haven't scored against the Redbirds since 2007.
Senior back Kristin Cooley is nine minutes shy of eclipsing 2009 teammate Danielle Mutters' program-record of 6,240. Cooley, who leads the team this season with 1,396 minutes, has played 6,232 minutes throughout her career. After not playing in the first two games of her career, Cooley came on as a substitute in the third game of 2009 and has started 70-straight matches since then. She started and played all 90 minutes in the Redbirds' victory over the Bears. Cooley was awarded the MVC Defensive Player of the Week award for her efforts in helping the Redbirds shutout MSU.
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