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Homecoming For The Redbirds As They Host Missouri State

Written by on March 4, 2021

Photo courtesy of goredbirds.com

NORMAL,Ill.- The Illinois State women’s soccer team is set to host the visiting Missouri State Bears on Friday, March 5. The game will be the first official match at Adelaide Street Field since the 2019 season.

The Redbirds are coming into Friday’s matchup following a 1-0 over win over Evansville last weekend where Redbird senior midfielder Ashley Santos logged in 90 minutes and scored the game winning goal and her third goal of the season. Santos expands on how the Redbirds were able to come away with the victory.

“Our big thing going into that game was being hungry,” said Santos. “Because it was the first conference game for us and conference is a big time of the year and this is obviously a shortened season. In our first four games that half were regular season and half that were exhibition, we found some areas we definitely needed to improve on which included our communication and some of our tactics defensively. So going into that game, we actually switched our outside backs and we challenged our back unit to be leaders and to communicate and they really stepped up in our game Saturday. I’m so proud of them! I think that was the big difference in our play, our back line and our goalkeeper being able to communicate and really step into their roles.”

Now the Redbirds hope to keep their momentum going against another Missouri Conference Valley foe, Missouri State. Last season, the Redbirds were able to come away with two wins against Missouri State. The first came during the regular season when the Redbirds defeated the Bear 1-0 on the road and the latter happened in the MVC semi finals when they beat the Bears 4-3 in overtime. 

Both teams are entering conference play where they are both expected to finish 2nd and 3rd respectively. Santos expands on what the Redbirds need to do in order to come away with the win. 

“Last season is last season. It obviously felt good and was nice to have those wins but those are in the past now,” said Santos. “Missouri State has always been a strong competitor of ours and obviously that’s gonna be the same thing this season. I think we’re really gonna have to step up our offense game against them. We’re really focusing on our attack and how we can make more attacking opportunities and finish those goals because as you saw, it was only a 1-0 win which if we don’t get scored on that’s good for us and that’ll keep us in any game but we also need the ability to score goals to win a game. I think that’s our big focus going into Missouri State and then just focusing on that one game. We’re trying to take it one step at a time, not look too far ahead and definitely not gonna overlook Missouri state in any means. The past is in the past, this is a new team and we have a new team. I think it’s gonna be a good battle on Friday for sure.”