James Robinson carry Redbirds in FCS playoffs
Jake Sermersheim | Sports Editor | @JakeSermersheim
Senior running back James Robinson was the driving force for the Illinois State University football team during the FCS Playoffs.
After leading the Redbirds with 1,292 yards and 15 touchdowns in the regular season, Robinson stepped it up in the playoffs rushing for 607 yards and 3 touchdowns.
As one the last four teams named to the playoffs many people expected the Redbirds to have a short stay in the playoffs. But Robinson ensure that would not be the case.
In game one, Robinson carried the Redbirds with 297 rushing yards (a career and ISU record) and a touchdown against South Eastern Missouri in round one. In that game Robinson was featured on 42 of 66 ISU offensive possessions.
Facing off against Central Arkansas, Robinson continued his hot stretch rushing for 210 yards and 2 touchdowns.
During the Semifinals Robinson was unable to do much damage against the soon to Champion North Dakota University Bison. The senior running back managed just 97 yards in ISU’s loss.
Robinson’s career stretch during the playoff run is easily my top moment.
Women’s basketball 86-85 2OT win against the Loyola Ramblers
Jake Fogal | Sports Editor | @Jfogal5
Many memorable feats ensued during the 2019-2020 calendar year at Illinois State, but witnessing women’s basketball forward Lexi Wallen blow up for 35 points versus Loyola-Chicago on Valentine’s Day left my jaw dropped. Wallen scored 10 points in the final 36 seconds of that game, capping it off with a buzzer beating three to send the contest to overtime. Wallen’s continued performance would lead the Redbirds to an 86-85 win in double overtime. This type of spectacular performance is what you dream of covering as a sports reporter, and I can only be grateful that I witnessed greatness at Redbird Arena that day.
Women’s basketball beats first ranked team in 28 years
Ken Kanoon | Sports Reporter | @ken_k_____
Illinois State Women’s basketball stood a slim chance of upsetting #17 ranked Missouri State going into their game on Thursday, February 27, 2020. The odds clearly didn’t affect the Redbirds as they upset the Bears 78-66.
When the Bears began making their comeback in thethird Tete Maggett responded. She took over in the fourth quarter putting in 17 points and changed the game for the Redbirds as they pulled off the improbable upset.
Matt Petrovitch | Sports Reporter | @matt_Petrovitch
My favorite sports moment of the year came from the women's basketball team defeating a ranked opponent for the first time in 28 years. The last time this happened was January 9th, 1992 when Illinois State took down No. 20 Southwest Missouri State. The Redbirds defeated No. 17/21 ranked Lady Bears by a final score of 78-66. Seniors TeTe Maggett and Lexi Wallen lead the way on both ends of the court. Maggett lead all scoring with 24 points while hitting 3-3 on threes in the fourth quarter. Wallen had 18 points and 6 rebounds in the victory. This is my favorite moment because this was the first women’s basketball game I went to and it happened to be historic. It is not every night you see this happen and I consider myself lucky to have been able to see it live.
Track wins third straight indoor Championship
Rachel Hickey | Sports Reporter | @r_hickey15
On March 1 of this year, the Illinois State Women’s Track & Field program put together a record-breaking performance at the Missouri Valley Conference Indoor Championships. The full-team effort resulted in a new conference record for most points scored with 190.16 total.
The women won 12 of the 17 events at the championships, securing a dominant victory over second-place Southern Illinois (125).
The team title also marked the Redbird’s third straight indoor championship, and fifth consecutive when accounting for outdoor titles. It would have been thrilling to see what other records the Redbird women could have broken this spring, however, that will have to wait until 2021.
Kate Del Fava drafted 12 overall by Utah Royals in NWSL draft
Kevin Koski | Sports Reporter| @_koski_
My top ISU sports moment is Senior midfielder Kate Del Fava being drafted by the Utah Royals in the second round with the 12th overall pick in the 2020 National Women’s Soccer League draft. Del Fava is the second Redbird to be drafted by the NWSL and the highest drafted Missouri Valley Conference player ever drafted.
Volleyball earns second straight trip to NCAA Tournament
Alfonso Cerna | Sports Reporter | @fonzcerna
There were a lot of great moments for Redbird athletics this past academic year, but I think the best of them all was the three-set by Illinois State Volleyball (22-12, 8-6 MVC) over Northern Iowa (24-11 17-1 MVC) to claim the Missouri Valley Conference Championship.
I believe this is the best moment because Redbird Volleyball faced a lot of adversity throughout the season.
This relatively young team was plagued with injuries and the inexperience showed during the middle part of the season.
Coach Johnson kept the Redbirds believing and they got hot at the right time, winning eight straight contests including the sweep over the first place Panthers who had only lost one conference match (vs Illinois State) in the regular season.
During this dominant run by ISU, the Redbirds only lost four total sets, and swept five opponents.
The championship was the first ever for a No. 3 seed, and propelled Illinois State into the NCAA Tournament for the second straight season.
Redbird Volleyball will be a force to be reckoned with this upcoming year.