Illinois State University finished off the season with a 1-0 win against Drake in Bettendorf, Iowa, on Nov. 1.
This win clinched the No. 2 seed for ISU heading into the Missouri Valley Conference tournament. The Redbirds will play the winner of the No. 3/No. 6 matchup. The ’Birds are the first team in the MVC to play all 18 regular-season games, and the rest of the seeds will be official at a future date.
Senior midfielder Kate Del Fava capped an incredible season with her 15th goal in the 44th minute. ISU’s defense returned to form and prevented Drake from scoring a single goal. The Redbirds controlled the pace of the game, and at the 67th minute held a 14-5 shooting advantage.
“Kate’s game winning goal was another special moment for her,” ISU head coach Brad Silvey said. “The shutout from a goalkeeping standpoint for Haley and for the team is just … it’s credit to them and their willingness to dig in and to buy in to our process, and to commit to what it is we’re asking them to do.”
Drake was 7-8-1 coming into the game, with the Redbirds being 12-5. This was a close matchup that required adjustments and execution.
“Really proud of our team and their ability to adapt to some of the changes this game required,” Silvey said. “To come in and to play that game the way they did was actually pretty incredible.”
ISU recorded another one-goal win, and they had eight total on the season.
“We knew it was gonna be tough, Drake always matches up against us extremely well,” Silvey said. “We knew we had to win a lot of individual moments throughout the contest, and the girls just stepped up time after time after time.”
The win put ISU at 6-1 on the year in conference play, and 13-5 overall. Drake is now 7-9-1 and holds a 4-3 conference record. Loyola impressively went 7-0 in conference (currently 12-4-1 overall), and they will be the formidable No. 1 seed in the tournament.
Illinois State returns to action on Nov. 8 for its first matchup of the MVC tournament in Springfield, Missouri.