Illinois State plays a ranked opponent for the second time in three games. 

Illinois State women’s soccer split weekend matches at Notre Dame and at home versus Green Bay. After being shutout Friday, the ’Birds netted a pair of goals Sunday at Adelaide Street Field.

Game 1: Notre Dame 1, ISU 0

ISU fell on the wrong side of another close match, losing 1-0 to No. 23 Notre Dame in South Bend, Ind.

Junior Kaitlin Klawunder would get the only goal for Notre Dame thanks to a header off a corner kick in the 41st minute. And even though the Redbirds would make another second-half charge, the Fighting Irish held them off to improve to 4-1 on the year.

With five shots on goal, the Redbirds’ best opportunity came at the 23rd minute when many thought senior Lauren Koehl got her second goal of the year. However, the referees would disallow it due to a late offsides call.

Head coach Eric Golz thinks his team has gotten to experience a lot from a consistently good team like Notre Dame. He believes that his players realize that they still have yet to reach their full potential.

“I think that they learned that we are not yet at our ceiling,” Golz said. “We’re capable of playing some really good teams.”

Game 2: ISU 2, Green Bay 0

For the second Sunday in a row, ISU dominated its opponent for nearly an entire match, this time beating Green Bay 2-0.

Just like they did against Eastern Illinois, the Redbirds (2-4) would control roughly every minute of this contest at Adelaide Street Field. They would outshoot Green Bay (0-5-1) 28-6.

Freshman Kate Del Fava would get ISU on the board at 24:59 when her shot from about 25 yards got over the hands of Green Bay goalkeeper Kelly Kent and into the net. For this being her first collegiate goal, she admits she did not see it coming.

“I was really surprised because I turned and I was 25 yards out and I just hit it,” Del Fava said. “And I watched it go in and everyone just swarmed me.”

At 56:13, senior Lauren Koehl would score her second goal of the year to make it 2-0. She would register six shots, including one that went off the post in the first half. This was her way to overcome what took place in South Bend, Ind.

In her last match, against Notre Dame, she would score a goal only for it to be taken off due to a late offsides call. After the 1-0 loss, she would call the referees, “Notre Dame fans,” on Twitter. In response to all of the opportunities she got against Green Bay, she says she came in with the goal to score.

“I felt really good,” Koehl said. “I just wanted to win one and to score one and just be there and it kind of showed.”

Another noticeable performance was from freshman goalkeeper Haley Smith. In her fifth collegiate start, she would make four saves to get her first win of her career. Coach Eric Golz thinks Smith’s level play so far is not surprising for a freshman goalkeeper.

“I think she has done some spectacular things with both spectacular saves and spectacular errors,” Golz said. “And that is kind of customary for a freshman and a first year goalkeeper because it is, in my opinion, one of the more difficult positions on the field.”

Golz’s squad will play its second defending NCAA tournament qualifier in as many weeks when it faces #24 Northwestern next. With the combination of the team’s win against Green Bay and competitive performance versus Notre Dame, he is positive about winning this next match.

“We’re excited,” Golz said. “And we certainly have the tools and the players and some of the organization to do that.”

ISU will play Northwestern at 7 p.m. Thursday in Evanston, Ill.

NICK LANDI is a sports writer and blogger for The Videte. He can be reached by email and found on Twitter @TheDon1033

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