Redbirds Looking for Second-Straight MVC Tournament Title
Nov. 1, 2012
NORMAL, Ill. - The second-seeded Illinois State soccer team (11-4-2, 4-2-0 MVC) begins its quest for a second-straight Missouri Valley Conference Tournament title Friday evening, when it takes on sixth-seeded Creighton (3-12-3, 0-6-0 MVC) in a 6 p.m., semifinal, at Morrison Stadium in Omaha, Neb. Should the Redbirds advance, they would meet either No. 1-seed Evansville or No. 5-seed Indiana State for the title and NCAA Tournament bid on Sunday.
The Redbirds are the defending conference tournament champions, as they defeated Evansville, 6-0, and Missouri State, 5-0, to earn their third NCAA Tournament berth in program history. ISU also won the league tournament in 2003 and 2009. The Redbirds are 10-10-6 all-time in the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament, and 6-1-2 under head coach Drew Roff.
"We peaked at the tournament last year, and our goal this year is to do the same," Roff said. "The key is not trying to change too much, while at the same time respecting and preparing for your opponent. It's about us putting it all together and seeing if we can play our best soccer of the year."
The Last Meeting
September 29, 2012
"Last time we played them, it was definitely a difficult matchup for us," Roff said. "It was a very close game. Creighton is a strong program, and they have a lot of pride. They have some momentum and a lot of belief right now. We need to focus on what we do and playing our best game."
The Bluejays advanced to the semifinals of the MVC Tournament by getting past No. 3-seed Drake on penalty kicks in their first-round match. The draw broke a seven-match losing streak for CU, but the Bluejays still have not won a match since Sept. 19 against South Dakota State. Creighton's offense has not found the back of the net since Oct. 11 against Drake, but senior Brittney Neumann is still tied for fourth in the league with four goals. Three other players have two, including freshman Jill Richgels, who also leads the team with three assists.
Sophomore Madelyn Buckner, an All-MVC freshman selection in 2011, is the only returning starter along the Bluejay back line. Richgels has provided an offensive spark from the back, while senior Gabriela Guillen has played in 17 matches. Senior Katie Jo Swanson has played every minute in goal this season for CU, leading the conference with 94 saves.
MVC Player of the Year awards and all-conference selections will be announced at a banquet Thursday night at the stadium. Tejada was the Valley's Player of the Year last season, becoming just the second freshman all-time to win the award, and is a candidate to repeat this year.
Friday's match will be streamed live on www.valley-live.tv, with Scott Warmann and Dave Dir on the call. Sunday's championship will air live on FOX Sports Midwest, FOX Sports Indiana, FOX Sports Kansas City, FOX College Sports Central, ESPN3 (outside of the Valley footprint), DirecTV (Channel 671), Dish Network (Channel 418) and AT&T U-Verse (Channel 748) at 3 p.m., with Sean Wheelock and Dir providing the commentary. Both matches will also be broadcasted on the WJBC/Country Financial Illinois State Radio Network and GoRedbirds.com.
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