The Illinois State soccer team defeated the Indiana State Sycamores 4-0 Sunday, clinching the MVC regular season championship on Senior Day and Heidecke Day.
Just two minutes into the match on a beautiful day at Adelaide Street Field, Hannah Leinert delivered her fifth goal of the season. Leinert booted the ball past Indiana State goalkeeper San Roman to give ISU an early 1-0 lead.
The first one was huge, head coach Drew Roff said. Leinert had a beautiful goal; we calmed down a bit after that. After her goal, we became relentless on the attack.
Just a few minutes later, Gabbi McArtor also found the back of the net. In the eighth minute, McArtor attemped what looked like a cross from the left side of the field towards the penalty box. The ball sailed over everyone including San Roman to the back right corner of the net to increase the Redbird lead to 2-0. It was McArtors first goal of the season.
The play of all our players today was great, Roff said. Everybody contributed, it was a great overall team performance.
It was not long before the Redbirds would be on the attack again. In the 12th minute, Leinert scored her second goal of the game, pushing the ISU lead to 3-0. Rachel Tejada and Ali Farkos were credited with the assists.
It was a really special day, Leinert said. We held so much emotion in knowing it was Senior Day and Heidecke Day. Our seniors are really inspirational. Rachel [Tejada] motivates me to push hard, along with the other seniors and the rest of the team.
This was Tejadas 39th assist of the year, tying her for the all-time MVC assist record. It was her eighth assist of the season; one more and she will topple the all-time MVC record, increasing her numerous individual career accolades.
Coming off the bench, Emily Dickman netted another goal in the 34th minute. Leinert assisted Dickman for her fourth goal of the season increasing the ISU lead to 4-0.
ISU dominated in every aspect of the game. The Redbirds outshot the Sycamores 35-5 along with a 13-1 corner kick advantage. Aryn Newsom made two saves in goal, leading ISU to its sixth shutout of the season.
The MVC regular season title-clinching win also marked Senior Day and Heidecke Day. McArtor was announced as recipient of the 2014 Julie Heidecke Senior Award. McArtor, Tejada, Newsom and Keri Kujawa were all honored before the match for the Senior Day celebration.
To get a shutout along with a conference win, it was a beyond amazing day, Roff said. To also celebrate Senior Day and to celebrate the life of Julie Heidecke, it was a very special day for our program. It was a day where I didnt even have to say anything to our players to get them motivated. I knew the motivation would be through the roof. To be able to seal the deal with the regular season conference championship just made it that much more special.
Despite clinching the MVC with the win, the Redbirds still have one conference game left this season. ISU will travel to Drake on Saturday looking for a win to complete the perfect 6-0 MVC record and to increase their RPI going forward.
Kickoff against Drake on Saturday is slated for 7 p.m. Following the Drake match, ISU will return for its last home game of the season against Idaho on Oct. 30. Kickoff against Idaho is scheduled for 7 p.m., which will mark the programs first ever official night game.