After multiple delays and postponements to Sunday’s originally scheduled 1 p.m. soccer match between Illinois State and Valparaiso, the two teams were finally able to play at the Corn Crib Monday morning.
Despite having to stick around Normal for an extra night, the Crusaders’ two first-half goals proved to be enough in a 2-0 Missouri Valley Conference victory over the Redbirds.
“There was nothing ideal about the weather and field conditions yesterday,” ISU head coach Brad Silvey said. “But the results had nothing to do with changes, weather, officials or the facility.”
“We are playing a great style of soccer that our team and staff are extremely proud of, we simply are not seeing the results quite yet.”
The Crusaders were able to get on the board midway through the first half, as Caitlyn Oliver buried a shot assisted by Ava Porlier to make it 1-0 in the 29’ minute. Oliver snuck it past ISU goalkeeper Haley Smith after she left the goalie box to block Porlier’s shot.
Later in the first half, Julia Lehnen scored her first goal of the season after Smith was again forced out of the box in the 41’ minute to make it 2-0.
ISU had their opportunities in the match to score but failed to find the net for the third straight match. Entering the contest, the Redbirds led the MVC in shots with 213 (15.21 shots per game). The next highest is Northern Iowa, who have 165 shots (12.69 shots per game).
The same trend would continue in Monday’s match, as the Redbirds outshot the Crusaders 27-12, including 12-9 in shots on goal. Valpo goalkeeper Kezia Gesell kept the ’Birds in check with 12 saves. Smith contributed seven saves for ISU.
“We are really pleased with how our team has been able to create dangerous opportunities consistently within games,” Silvey said. “But opportunities don’t win games, goals win games and we are in a drought.”
Prior to the series of postponements Sunday afternoon, seniors Kiley Czerwinski, Angel Krell and team manager Matt Tobolt were all recognized for their accomplishments and dedication to the program at Adelaide Street Field.
“I told our group before the game that our seniors have helped set our process in motion and have helped pave the way for others to travel,” Silvey said. “They have been trailblazers and helped set a standard of our underclassmen and future Redbirds to follow.”
Illinois State will return to action 5 p.m. Saturday evening for a tilt with the Loyola-Chicago Ramblers in Chicago.