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Redbirds Edge UNI In Penalty Kicks To Advance To MVC Semifinals

Written by on April 11, 2021

Photo courtesy of goredbirds.com

NORMAL, Ill.- The number four seed Illinois State Redbirds defeat the fifth seed Northern Iowa Panthers after finishing regulation in a 1-1 draw, playing through two-ten minute overtime periods, and heading to penalty kicks where they converted their first three shots (3-0) to advance to the semifinals of the Missouri Valley Conference Women’s Soccer Championships on Sunday, April 14.

Northern Iowa got off to a hot start as senior forward Johnnie Hill netted in the first goal of the game in the 20 minute mark of the first half to take an early 1-0 lead. That would be the Panther’s only shot on goal as the Redbird’s made defensive adjustments to prevent any more shots on goal from happening. Redbird’s Head Coach Brad Silvey expanded on what his team did differently defensively as they entered the second half of the game.

“It really wasn’t an adjustment, it was more just demanding that our student-athletes do what we discussed at the end of the day,” said Head Coach Silvey. “We knew that UNI wanted to quickly advance the ball forward, secure it to one of their forwards/strikers, look to dish and then get in beyond again. A lot of credit to UNI for sure, we had a hard time disrupting that. Again, I think with some of the second half adjustments and just holding each other a little bit more accountable, just sharpening up how we’re executing, and making sure that we’re not relaxing, we’re not taking plays off because when our team takes plays off those are the moments when we’re allowing our opponents to execute the things they want to accomplish.”

The Redbirds came out in the second half a much more determined team on both ends of the field as they held the Panthers to three shots with none of them being on goal while ISU shot 16 of their 23 shots in the second half and the two overtime periods. ISU finally got on the board when a corner kick by redshirt senior Abby Basler created the opportunity for an UNI own goal just two minutes into the second half which tied the game at 1-1.

ISU did not score a single goal this game despite having 13 shots on goal. Head Coach Silvey explained what the Redbirds need to do in order to execute on those shot attempts.

“I still believe in our ability to net multiple goals on a steady basis,” said Head Coach Silvey. “But I think one of the things we really lack is a little bit of composure. Instead of just shooting the ball at the goal, we gotta shoot the ball with a little bit more purpose and a little bit more intent to be actually able to score and we’re definitely falling short in that category. We’ll continue to reframe it, retool it, and reshape it as best as we can.”

As the second half continued, neither team could score the game winning goal as regulation ended in a draw with the score tied up at 1-1. Two-ten minute overtime periods ensued with neither team able to win in a tightly contested matchup, thus allowing the game to be decided on penalty kicks. For ISU, this was the first time this season that they had a game decided in PK’s as Head Coach Silvey explained that they only practiced them one time.

“We practiced them one time [penalty kicks] and it was about a week ago,” said Head Coach Silvey. “We didn’t want our student-athletes to get mentally wrapped up about it.”
In penalty kicks, redshirt sophomore goalkeeper Priya Gillan would make her mark on the game as she saved three shots, followed by three straight penalty kick goals from Abby Basler, junior Logan Ziegler, and sophomore Michaela Kirscthen to secure the win for the Redbirds and advancing them to the semifinals.

“I’m just really proud of those three student-athletes that put the team on their back at that moment in time and stepped up big,” said Head Coach Silvey. “The way that Priya held herself and was big time in between the pipes when the game was literally on the line, I couldn’t be anymore proud of them. You talk about finishing a game, that’s what it came down to and our team delivered big time.”

The Redbirds will be on the road as they head to Loyola Chicago to take on the MVC regular season champions and the number one seed Ramblers with kickoff starting at 4 pm on Wednesday, April 14.