Soccer Loyola 12.JPG

Illinois State goalkeeper Haley Smith (1) boots the ball during action on a damp Wednesday night at Adelaide Field. The Redbirds defeated Loyola 5-3 with three goals in the second half. ISU's next game will be against Indiana State on Saturday.

As Illinois State soccer faced Valparaiso on Wednesday, ISU coach Brad Silvey had to experience the match from a different perspective.

Instead of watching the game from the sideline while trying to help his team get a win, Silvey had to serve as a spectator from the stands. This comes as a result of the red card he was issued in ISU’s previous match at Indiana State last Saturday, which led to his ejection. Per rule, anyone who is ejected from a match cannot participate in their team’s next game.

“It was a bit torturous being on the other side of the field and not being able to push some of the things that I had seen and that I would’ve liked to pass along to the players within live time,” Silvey said.

Despite not having Silvey to assist them, ISU returned to the win column after beating Valparaiso (8-8, 2-3 MVC) 1-0 in Valparaiso, Indiana.

ISU assistant coach Scott Myers took over Silvey’s duties for the match, with fellow assistant Sarah Tompkins helping him out.

“[Myers] did a tremendous job and made the changes and the tweaks and adjustments necessary to get us the victory tonight,” Silvey said. “So a lot of credit to Scott and Sarah for stepping in and managing the team.”

In the first meeting between these two programs since 2007, the game-winning goal came early as senior Emily Dickman scored at 9:14. Her fourth goal of the season was all the Redbirds (9-6-2, 3-2 MVC) needed to pick up its sixth win in its last seven matches.

The victory pushed ISU into a three-way tie for second place in the Missouri Valley Conference heading into the weekend. Joining the Redbirds in second are Northern Iowa and Loyola.

“We told them this was a pivotal game and this was a very important one,” Silvey said. “And it was just a great opportunity and we did a good job of managing the pressure that kind of came with that.”

Sophomore goalkeeper Haley Smith made five saves for the Redbirds to earn her eighth shutout of the season, a career high for her. Sophomores Mikayla Unger and Kate Del Fava both led ISU in shots with three each in the game.

Illinois State ultimately outshot Valparaiso 12-8, despite only getting two of them in the second half. After scoring only one goal in a match for the seventh time this season, Silvey is looking for his team’s offense to re-emerge.

“We need to get back to scoring multiple goals though,” Silvey said. “That’s a concern going into our next contest. Every contest that we score more than one goal, we won the game. It’s gone a little bit back and forth when we’re only scoring one or fewer. So I think it’s important that this team continue[s] to have that mindset that once we score a goal, we need to go and we need to score another one and another one and another one.”

In what will be its final home game of the regular season, Illinois State’s next match will be at 2 p.m. on Sunday at Adelaide Street against first place Drake.

NICK LANDI is a sports writer and blogger for The Videte. He can be reached by email and found on Twitter @TheDon1033

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