Redbirds Head South
Written by Jose Sandoval on April 3, 2021
Photo courtesy of goredbirds.com
NORMAL, Ill.- The Illinois State women’s soccer team hope to end their final regular season road game with a win as they travel for the first time ever to Southern Illinois to take on the Salukis on Saturday, March 3.
The Redbirds go into Saturday’s matchup following an impressive showing against UNI where they dominated on the offensive side of the ball with 16 shot attempts with seven of those being on goal and two going through the net as the final score resulted in a 2-0 shutout. Scoring her first goal of the season in Saturday’s matchup was junior forward Shaina Dudas who explained how it felt to finally see the ball go through the net for her.
“It was definitely a really good feeling,” said Dudas. “It was one of the best feelings but like I said, we’ve been working on shooting a lot and to finally see it go in, it was a surreal moment and I knew that to get us started in the game early on and it was really helpful for my team because we had that leg up on them and I feel like it kinda gave us some extra energy so just doing it for the team was a really awesome feeling.”
It seemed as if the Redbirds were playing their best soccer of the season in that match. Dudas also details if the Redbirds have played their best soccer yet.
“I think throughout the season we’ve definitely had our ups and downs,” said Dudas.”We’ve had games or even moments where we’ve done a lot of good stuff similar to what we did in that game (Against UNI) but I think it was super important because we were coming off three loses and everyone was super locked in. So for it to come all together, I think that was some of the best soccer we’ve seen and it’s really good moving forward because this is the most important part of our season.”
They hope to keep the momentum going against Southern Illinois who are currently last in standings in the Missouri Valley Conference with a conference record of 0-3-3. Dudas expands on what the Redbirds have been focusing on in this week’s practices.
“This week in practice we have been focusing on our team connection,” said Dudas. “And locking in on the details like competing for every ball, finishing, and controlling the game. We had a great game against UNI, but our team still believes we need to improve our possession and composure on the ball and we think that will help us against SIU.”
Following Saturday’s matchup, the Redbirds only have one more game at home before entering MVC Conference Tournament play. Dudas explains that the Redbirds are taking it one game at a time.
“We think it is super important to focus on one game at a time,” said Dudas. “It is easy to get caught up thinking about other games and other teams in our conference, but as a team we are committed to being focused on the present and that will improve our future.”
Kickoff for Saturday’s match against Southern Illinois begins at 6 pm at the Lew Hartzog and Field Complex in Carbondale, Ill.