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Redbirds Fall In Extra Time Against Toledo

Written by on September 22, 2021

Photo courtesy of Ashley Piraino

NORMAL, Ill.- The Illinois State soccer team closed their non-conference schedule at home as they were defeated by the Toledo Rockets by a final score of 1 to 0 in extra time. With this loss, the Redbirds losing streak at Adelaide Street Field continues as they are 0-5 at home.

“We challenged our team to do a better job of playing together and staying unified and connected on the field,” said Redbirds Head Coach Brad Silvey. “In terms of those expectations, I really liked how we played. I thought we had a hard time generating a consistent attack today, which kind of knocked us off our game but our defense was gritty and strong. We managed how Toledo wanted to attack and I thought we did a good job of forcing them to have to play a little bit different against us and that’s a credit to our team and how they executed today.”

The first half was very defensive for both teams as there were only a combined seven shots with no goals scored as the score was 0-0 at the end of the first half. Coming out the gates in the second half, the Redbirds controlled possession and were the aggressors attacking the backline of the Rockets defense but came up empty with no shots on goal.

In the 89th-minute of the game, redshirt junior goalkeeper Priya Gillan was whistled for a foul in the box after colliding with a Toledo player while in pursuit of the ball. Gillan kept her composure as she made an amazing diving save on the penalty kick to save the game for the Redbirds as they went into extra time. Gillan expanded on what she was thinking during the penalty kick.

“It’s one of those things where the odds are against the goalkeeper so you just have to go in with the mindset that you have to do your best,” said Gillan. “I have been working on penalty kicks a lot so I thought to myself if she’s going one way I’m gonna go the other way and I ended up making the save so I’m proud of myself.”

In extra time, both teams were struggling to be successful on the attack. Unfortunately for the Redbirds, freshman Sydney Smith picked up her second yellow card of the game in the 92nd-minute leaving Illinois State with only 10 players in the final sequence of the game.

Toledo was able to capitalize off of that as Ashton Cassel would score in the 93rd-minute mark to secure the victory for the Rockets 1-0. The Redbirds close their non-conference schedule and now eye the Missouri Valley Conference. Gillan expands on what the team needs to improve on heading into conference play.

“This is a great game to build off of,” said Gillan. “We just wanna keep building the energy and we wanna get some goals in the back of the net. We’ve done a really great job defensively the past few games so the next step is scoring some goals.”

The Redbirds hope to finally get a win at home as they are hosting the visiting Southern Illinois Salukis for their second Missouri Valley Conference matchup on Saturday, September 25 with kickoff starting at 6 pm.