The Illinois State soccer team dominated NIU, 4-1 in their
season opener on a hot and muggy Friday afternoon at
Adelaide Street Field.
Coming into the first game of the season, the Redbirds were looking for some much-needed offense and found just that. Going scoreless in preseason play, the Redbirds came out firing on all cylinders Friday.
Sophomore midfielder Dagny Olson broke the scoreless drought early in the sixth minute when she found the back of the net, beating Husky keeper Amy Annala. Just ten minutes afterwards in the 16th minute, Olson assisted fellow striker Rachel Tejada to increase their lead 2-0.
It wasn’t long before the Redbirds struck again. In the 26th minute, Paige Jarsombeck, a sophomore transfer from Creighton fired towards the goal. Annala blocked the forward’s first attempt, but a second effort from Jarsombeck gave the Redbirds a rebound goal and a 3-0 lead.
Not even a minute later, the Redbird attack was on the move again. Junior midfielder Ali Farkos beat Annala with a goal to the upper left handed corner to give the Redbirds a commanding 4-0 lead going into halftime.
Head coach Drew Roff was impressed with his team’s performance, referencing their patience on the offensive side of the ball.
“Our movement was very good…we really worked on that final pass. It takes a lot of time to get the chemistry down.” Roff said. “Our forwards were very active.”
The powerful first half performance carried into the second half where the Redbirds maintained the lead throughout the match. The Huskies lone goal came from Ashley Neubeck in the 47th minute when she found her way past Redbird goalkeeper Aryn Newsom. Newsom tallied four saves in 82 minutes of play.
The Redbirds firing offense showed up on the stat sheet as the team outshot NIU, 25-9 in total shots.
Despite the impressive showing from the Redbirds, Roff believes there is a still lot of room for improvement.
“The main focus is to learn from this game. The first half was tremendous for us,” Roff said. “We’re going to put together the best 90 minute effort we can.”
The Redbirds will hit the road en route to College Station, Texas to take on Sam Houston State on Aug. 29 and Texas A&M on Aug. 31 before returning to Illinois to challenge DePaul on Sept. 3.