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It was a chilly, rainy Wednesday as the Redbirds battled the Northern Iowa Panthers at Adelaide Street Field. After an own goal scare in the first half, Illinois State University took control of the game and secured a hard-earned 3-1 win. Wednesday also marked history as it was the first game played under the newly installed lights at Adelaide Street Field.
After outshooting UNI early, ISU found the back of the net in the 22nd minute when Tejada yet again to begin the game, assisted Kelli Zickert who beat UNI goalkeeper Whitney Blunt putting ISU up 1-0. Brooke Ksiazek was also credited with the assist.
The Redbirds would continue the offensive dominance, pounding shots through the Panthers defense. Blunt came up with many key saves to keep UNI in the game. ISU found themselves with a very early 11-2 shot advantage in the first half.
In the 36th minute however, ISU committed a crucial mistake. After a Panthers cross towards the middle from the left side of the field, Ksiazek headed the ball in the air. The ball traveled backwards over teammate Aryn Newsoms outstretched arms and into the back of the Redbirds net, resulting in an own goal tying the game 1-1.
At halftime I told them not to worry, Head Coach Drew Roff said. We had to keep the pressure, we needed to play a little bit more direct. Big mistakes like that can be fixed if were more direct with the ball.
The Redbirds began the second half aggressive looking for the goal to put them on top. ISU did exactly what Roff wanted, pressuring the UNI defense. The Redbirds were able to capitalize in the 63rd minute. Following a corner kick, Tejada found the ball at the top of the box for a rebound boot and goal to give the Redbirds a 2-1 lead and renewed energy.
The Redbirds would continue the pressure both offensively and defensively throughout the game. Many shots came just wide, while others were stopped impressively by Blunt. After the own goal, Ksiazek was able to redeem herself in the 82nd minute. Rhianna Krutz booted a corner kick towards the box, Ksiazek came running towards the box, jumping for the header into the net. The goal was Ksiazeks first of the year and was also Krutz first assist.
Days like today, our feet get heavy in the mud and rain, Roff said. We had fresh legs from everyone. It was a great team effort from everyone, a great team win.
Besides the own goal, the Redbirds dominated the Panthers in all aspects of the game. ISU outshot UNI 30-5 and also had a 9-0 corner kick advantage. Newsom made four saves in goal.
ISU was scheduled to play its first ever night game in program history on October 30 against Idaho, but the rainy conditions prompted the new lights to be turned on for an early debut. Adelaide Street Field along with the newly installed lights, will be hosting the MVC tournament beginning Nov. 2.
The win marks ISUs 17th straight MVC win and puts them at 4-0 in conference play this season.
Senior Captains Gabbi McArtor, Newsom and Tejada will be honored on Senior Day, which will be held on Sunday when ISU hosts Indiana State. Senior Day kickoff is slated for 1 p.m. at Adelaide Street Field.