The Loyola Ramblers defeated the Illinois State University Redbirds 4-1 on Oct. 20 in Normal.
Fans and players wore pink in honor of the Tackle Cancer promotion, which donated $1 for every fan in attendance to the Community Cancer Center for a total of $576.
ISU went into this game coming off five straight shutouts and nine straight wins. The Redbirds held their opponents to two goals since Sept. 13 and were in first place in the Missouri Valley Conference.
Loyola was in the middle of a seven-game winning streak, including a notable 2-0 win over current third seed Missouri State.
The scoring came quickly for Loyola as the Ramblers’ senior midfielder Sienna Cruz scored in the fourth minute. It remained a 1-0 contest until the 52nd minute when graduate student forward Simone Wark scored. She was joined by senior midfielder and forward Aleksa Tataryn in the 57th minute. Finally, Wark scored again in the 86th minute on a breakaway goal.
Four goals allowed was an uncharacteristic game for this year’s Redbird squad. They have not allowed more than two goals since their Sept. 8 matchup with the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.
“The score line’s the score line, and looking at it, that hurts,” ISU’s head coach Brad Silvey said. “To go for the longest stretch that we did without conceding goals and then to give up four today, that’s hard to see and hard to look at … Loyola was just sharper than us today … hopefully, it wakes us up … I do know that our team is capable of producing more.”
Loyola led in total shots and corner kicks. Silvey spoke about the team’s defensive mistakes as well as lapses in control.
“The game was lost, I feel, in a lot of our individual moments,” Silvey said. “Individual defending, individual attacking and possession moments … Unfortunately, I felt that it took the three goals against us for us to finally have a stimulus and have a response that really showed that we were capable of more … at the end of the day, Loyola was definitely deserving of the win and we have to do more moving forward.”
ISU’s record is now 11-5 heading into two seemingly difficult games against Missouri State (9-3-2) and Drake (6-8-1). Loyola is now 10-4-1 and currently has the first seed in the Missouri Valley Conference.
“What I shared with the team is that we have to have a response,” Silvey said. “It’s another quick turnaround to be on the road against another top team in the Valley … we just gotta get back to us, we need to continue to stick to our process and keep to our habits, and that’s all there is to it.”
ISU’s scoring well ran dry in this game, with the lone goal coming from redshirt sophomore Sarah Ochitwa in the 73rd minute. This was the first goal of her career after battling injuries since arriving at ISU two years ago.
“That was the first thing I mentioned when I brought the team in,” Coach Silvey said. “That was a really special moment for her and for our team, and the battles and the fights; the setbacks that she’s had to go through and overcome and endure, and to score in a game like this … that was awesome.”
The Redbirds will play Missouri State on Oct. 25 and Drake on Oct. 31 before the MVC tournament begins on Nov. 3.