With an opportunity to clinch home field advantage for the opening round of the Missouri Valley Conference tournament, Illinois State soccer could not seal the deal.
In their final game of the regular season, the Redbirds (9-8-2, 3-4 MVC) fell to Missouri State (8-9-1, 4-2-1 MVC) 2-0 Thursday in Springfield, Missouri. Due to the loss, ISU earns the No. 5 seed in the MVC tournament and will play its opening match at No. 4 Northern Iowa on Sunday.
Missouri State gained an early advantage in the shots category, outshooting ISU 11-4 in the first half. 35:01 into the match, junior Brooke Prondzinski received a pass in the box before scoring her team-leading fifth goal of the season for the Bears. ISU entered the intermission trailing 1-0.
Illinois State tried to tie the match up in the second half, but freshman Jordan Eickelman gave Missouri State a 2-0 lead at 57:52 with her second goal of the year. The Redbirds would not be able to catch up to the Bears, only getting five shots on goal during the match.
Sophomore goalkeeper Haley Smith made nine saves for the Redbirds, while senior Emily Dickman led the team with three shots. Six other ISU players got a shot off in the game, with senior Kelli Zickert having a team-high two on goal.
During the match, three yellow cards were issued. Freshman Jessica Denney, along with Dickman, each picked up one for Illinois State while senior Rachel Catrell was given one for Missouri State. Denney and Dickman were issued theirs at 21:02 and 45:40 respectively, while Catrell received hers at 78:01.
With the victory, Missouri State has won three of its last four matches to earn the No. 2 seed and a bye into the semifinal round of the MVC tournament. It will face the winner of No. 3 Loyola and No. 6 Valparaiso on Nov. 3 at 6 p.m. The Bears will also host this year’s tournament on its campus at Betty and Bobby Allison South Stadium.
Illinois State, meanwhile, closes out its regular season by losing three of its last four matches. If ISU beats Northern Iowa, it will face No. 1 Drake in Springfield, Missouri., on Nov. 3 at 3:30 p.m.
Sunday’s match against Northern Iowa starts at 1 p.m.