Senior Day at Adelaide Street Field will be a memorable one. In its third shutout victory in a row, the Illinois State soccer team topped MVC foe Evansville to win its fifth straight game, securing its flawless Missouri Valley record and first place position in the conference. The Redbirds also topped Northern Iowa on Thursday evening in a 5-0 victory, adding to their now 10-6-0 record, and 4-0-0 record in the MVC.
The last game [against UNI] was the first time we were playing instinctively and on the same page with each other, ISU Head Coach Drew Roff said. I was hoping that would continue, and it did today. When you have Leinert and Tejada up top playing quick and off each other, they are a handful.
ISU 5, Northern Iowa 0
With a season-high five goals on Thursday night, the Birds strode into a four game winning streak and a first place regular season position in the MVC. Rachel Tejada and Hannah Leinert each registered two goals and one assist each to lead the way for the Birds, while Kyla Cross contributed the other goal. This high-scoring game was the complete effort that Roff had been looking for.
We were looking for that game that got our scorers and playmakers rolling. In the second half, the third, fourth and fifth goals were fun to see, Roff said. It was a great performance. It was great to see some of those combinations weve been waiting for up top to come through.
Leinert gave ISU the 1-0 lead in the 18th minute, collecting a loose ball in ISU territory and sprinting for 50 yards, keeping off a UNI (2-13-0, 1-3-0 MVC) defender all the way and then beating the keeper for the goal. In the 29th minute, Leinert found Tejada at the edge of the box, who chipped one by the keeper to make it 2-0 at the half.
The first 35 minutes of the second half remained scoreless until the Redbird offense fired out three goals in ten minutes. Leinert scored in the 82nd minute on an assist from Tejada, before Tejada caught an assist from Anna Stinson two minutes later to make it 4-0. Cross recorded the fifth and final goal on an assist from Ali Farkos to seal the ultimate 5-0 advantage. Tejadas two goals mark her league-leading 10th and 11th, while Leinert racked up her sixth and seventh.
Keeper Aryn Newsom did not have to make a single save in the match, as a strong defensive effort from Gabbi McArtor, Rhianna Krutz, Abby Van Deventer, Sara Stankoskey and Kara Morway limited the Panthers to just five shots.
ISU 4, Evansville 0
Leinert, Tejada and Cross came back with a vengeance on Sunday, grabbing their third-straight shutout victory and their fourth in the last five games. The defending MVC-regular-season champ, Evansville, entered into Sundays matchup with the best overall record in the MVC (9-3-2). However, Sundays loss against the Redbirds made three-straight for the Purple Aces, dropping to 2-2-1 in the MVC.
The Birds became the first team all season to score more than a single goal against Evansville in 2013. Leinert struck first again on Sunday, with her first of two goals coming in the 17th minute. She took a pass from Tejada in the box and fired, putting ISU up 1-0. Tejada had her turn next on a corner kick from Krutz, headed by Abby Van Deventer. Tejada found the back of the net to double the Illinois State lead. Tejada now holds the ISU record for points all-time, surpassing Annie Waylands 126 with her own 128. Tejada trails Waylands record for career goals by eight.
Leinert struck again in the 60th minute, and Cross in the 77th minute to finalize the Redbirds 4-0 victory. Cross, along with Stinson and Allie Newsom were recognized for Senior Day before the game.
Today was a special day in our program with Heidecke Day and Senior Day, Roff said. All three of our seniors could have received that award, and actually, Anna has before [in 2012]. For Allie to get recognized by her peers, its really special. She is very deserving. Kyla has been tremendous. For those three to have the success they have had on the field throughout their career, and also have over a 3.9 GPA combined, we really cant ask for much more from three players.
With just two regular season matches remaining, the Birds next take on Drake on Sunday at home.