|ISU soccer gears up for Valley packed weekend tournament|
|Written by Emily Warner, Daily Vidette Senior Staff|
|Thursday, 04 November 2010 20:47|
After making it to the NCAA tournament last season for the first time since 2003, it is all the ISU soccer team has had its eyes on this season.
But remembering that one must walk before they run, the Redbirds also must make it through the State Farm Missouri Valley Conference tournament before they can advance to the big dance.
The Redbirds pushed their Oct. 28 game at Creighton to overtime, but failed to come out with a victory and missed clinching a share of the regular season MVC title and instead picking up the No. 3 seed for the Valley tournament.
“We know that we’re playing at a high level,” senior co-captain Bethany Brown said. “We haven’t gotten the results that we wanted or finished as we wanted but we know that we can play at that high level.”
As a result of the CU loss, the ‘Birds were forced to compete in a play in game against Indiana State on Oct. 31. After going into double overtime with the score tied at 1-1, junior Mary Sahm scored her second goal of the game for the win and helped advance ISU to the semi-finals of the MVC tournament.
The Redbirds now have Missouri State on their plate. In the Oct. 10 meeting between the two teams, the game had a scoreless result even after double overtime.
“That’s a team we played on our field and I thought we outplayed them that day,” ISU head coach Drew Roff said. “They’re always a tough team to score on. They get numbers behind the ball, they’re solid in the back and they have good goal keeping.”
But as the No. 2 seed, Missouri State had the benefit of instantly advancing to the semi-finals and avoiding a play in game.
“I think the people that have played long minutes, 90 minutes, especially our backs have been tired,” Brown said. “[Roff] has done a good job at making the practices a little bit lighter this week and the last two weeks so the backs and people like [Jessica Carlson] have time to catch their legs up and get a little more rest than usual.”
However important it may be for the ‘Birds to get adequate rest, they have still been focusing and preparing for their matchup against MSU.
“Missouri State likes to come and double team us when we’re isolated on the outside so…we need to play quicker because we know the double team is coming,” Brown said.
Heading into the tournament, ISU is lead by junior forward Carlson, who has six goals and five assists on the season. Senior forward Alyssa Schulz follows with three goals and two assists.
The Redbirds’ sophomore goal keeper, Mara Kremenovic has recorded four shutouts this season and 69 saves thus far.
In order to keep their season alive, a win from here on out is essential.
“I think our freshmen through our seniors have the mindset where we know if we lose we go home and we don’t want the season to end,” Brown said.
“We know we have each other’s back and its going to help propel us through the tournament,” she added.
If ISU beats the Bears, that will put them in the MVC tournament final once again, with either Creighton or Evansville, depending on the result of the other semi-final.
“We know that we’ve got two very good teams that we’re going to have to beat if we’re going to win that championship and get to the NCAA tournament, but we’re excited to be in it,” Roff said.
The tournament is being held at Creighton in Omaha, Neb. The ‘Birds will face off against the Bears on Friday at 3:30 p.m.
The winner of the match will compete in the final on Sunday at 2:05 p.m.