In search of a way to get its first win of the season and honor a former player, Illinois State came out with an honorable performance.
The Redbirds (1-3) took control from the start and kept dominating Eastern Illinois (0-3) on route to a 4-0 win at Adelaide Street Field.
The annual “Heidecke Day” match also took place in honor of former Redbird player Julie Heidecke, who died in a car accident on April 29, 1998.
After numerous opportunities, the Redbirds gained a 2-0 lead at the 22-minute mark after rebound goals from freshman Abby Basler and junior Kelli Zickert within a span of 30 seconds.
It was Basler’s first career goal as a Redbird and ISU’s first individual goal.
“It felt great,” Basler said. “Right after I scored as soon as my team came up to me it was probably one of the best moments of my life honestly…just coming in as a freshman and scoring that was just an awesome feeling and I hope to feel it again soon.”
In the second half, senior Lauren Koehl scored her first goal of the season off a pass from senior Brooke Ksiazek to make it a 3-0 lead at 60 minutes.
“It’s awesome to know it’s (first goal) finally there,” Koehl said. “So hopefully this opens up a lot more gates for other goals to come.”
Koehl won the Heidecke award last year for her numerous traits off the field such as determination, leadership, and spirit.
Senior Brianne Richards made it 4-0 at 85 minutes with her first goal off a corner kick from Kate Del Fava.
The most significant performance of the game came from ISU’s defense as Eastern was held to only one shot on goal.
The Redbirds finished with 23 shots on goal.
After the match, coach Eric Golz spoke to fans as part of the annual Heidecke Ceremony while both he and the team stood next to the Heidecke tribute tree near Adelaide Street Field.
“It’s special, unique and powerful,” Golz said. “Julie’s impact on the program in her short time while she was here was incredible. The impact that her untimely death has had on both the players who were with her at the time and also the players who have followed her. She left quite a legacy here and she is an example to all of our former and current student athletes to live by.”
The Redbirds face their toughest opponent of the season at 6 p.m. Friday when they kick off against Notre Dame in South Bend, Ind.
Note: In Monday's issue of "The Vidette," a former player was used as the teaser sports photo.