A trip to Texas ended the Redbirds’ three-game losing streak before suffering another loss on Sunday.
This past weekend’s two matches, both against Big 12 teams, were an improvement after being outscored 9-1 by Minnesota and Illinois combined in the weekend prior. Taking their first trip in team history to the Lone Star state, the Redbirds split the weekend defeating TCU 2-1 before falling to Texas 2-1.
“It was unfortunate that we couldn’t find that equalizer, because I thought we deserved a draw today,” head coach Drew Roff said. “I’m really proud of the team’s effort. It’s really hot down here in Texas, and Texas is a really athletic team.”
Illinois State 2, TCU 1
During its three-game losing streak ISU took damage early, with each of the games’ first goals coming less than 10 minutes into each match. The ’Birds set the tone this time around, with junior forward Rachel Tejada striking first in the game’s 12th minute. That goal put an end to a career-high five game drought. Anna Stinson delivered the assist.
That was huge,” Roff said. “Starting strong is something we’ve talked about the last couple weeks, and especially this week. We knew that being on the road after traveling this distance, to get down again would have been very demoralizing. We really emphasized a quick start, and I really like how we came out ready to play. That first one took some pressure off, and I think we could settle in and actually play the game the way we can play.
ISU carried the lead into the half with the help of its defense, after being outshot by the Horned Frogs 9-7. The team took its chance to score again in the 62nd minute, when Tejada set up Hannah Leinert for her third goal of the season. Her 22nd assist ties Tejada for the program’s all-time high.
Keeper Aryn Newsom made five saves in the match, including a diving stop in the game’s first minute to prevent a demoralizing early deficit.
“From front to back, we defended very well as a group,” Roff said. “Our reserves also played a big role in keeping the level high. Our depth really contributed to the win.”
Texas 2, Illinois State 1
Wrapping up its fourth straight game on the road, Illinois State fell despite getting off to another early lead. Tejada caught an assist from Kyla Cross and shot one from inside the box, putting the ’Birds up 1-0 with just 1:39 into play.
The score remained tied until just after the 12th minute, when the Longhorns had a three-way set-up for a score. Texas’ Kelsey Shimmick and Gabby Zarnegar both helped to set up attacking midfielder Sharis Lachappelle, who scored on a header. Lacheppelle had a game-high six shots on the day, and Texas outshot ISU 20-8.
Texas scored again just before the half — once again on a header. Isabelle Kerr set up Brooke Gilbert in the 44th minute who headed it in off a corner kick. The score remained through the second period for a Longhorns win, 2-1.
“In the second half, we carried the game and created some great chances,” Roff said. “I wish we got the result, but we didn’t. I don’t think we’ll find a tougher environment than we played in today, so I think it’s going to bode really well for our future.”
Redbirds soccer will now prepare for a four game home stint, first taking on SEMO Friday before meeting Marquette on Sunday.