The Fighting Illini handed Redbird soccer team its second loss of the season Sunday night in Normal. The Illini (2-0) defeated the Redbirds (0-2) 1-0 on a goal by Reagan Robishaw in the 60th minute at Adelaide Street Field.
Although the scoreboard didn’t show much, the contest had plenty of action. A fast-paced tempo left ISU coach Eric Golz content with the way the Redbirds played.
“I thought it was a much improved performance from Friday on both sides of the ball,” Golz said. “I thought we showed improvement in all phases of the game tonight. The tempo was high for most of the night, and there were many momentum swings.”
Each team had many chances through the game. Early on, ISU made the first push as sophomore forward Emily Dickman had a near miss on a shot just past the right post. In the 25th minute, Illini defender Sarah Warren made a save on the goal line as goalie Claire Wheatley was out of the net.
Golz liked the way the ’Birds competed on the attack through the game.
“I thought we did a good job of generating some quality chances to score. If we put one of those chances away, it completely changes the game. When we have the momentum, we have to finish those chances, that’s the difference between us winning and losing.”
The Illini did a good job of weathering the storm, as ISU came out firing early on. Illinois started to take over momentum as the game progressed; it had five shots in the last 10 minutes of the first half.
ISU had a small surge to start the second half. Shortly after the surge was over, Jannelle Flaws of the Illini sent a long lead pass to Robishaw. Robishaw then outran ISU defender Abby Van Deventer and beat goalie Vanessa Niestrom to the top left corner giving the Illini the lone goal that proved to be the difference.
“We got caught on our heels, and we paid for it,” Golz said.
Throughout the final 30 minutes of the game, ISU had a handful of chances. Stingy defense and solid goalkeeping kept Illinois in front and earned its second win while the Redbirds dropped its second straight game.
The Redbirds will look for its first victory of the season against Milwaukee 7 p.m. Friday at Adelaide Street Field.