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Redbirds Hope To Tame The Wildcats

Written by on September 9, 2021

Photo courtesy of Ashley Piraino

NORMAL, Ill.- The Illinois State women’s soccer team return home as they are set to host the visiting Northwestern Wildcats on Thursday, September 9.

The Redbirds are coming into Thursday’s matchup following a 2-0 loss against Milwaukee where they were outshot 20-10 in total with 12-4 shots on goal. This loss extends the Redbird’s losing streak to five which is the longest losing streak for their program since 2008. In addition, the Redbirds were held scoreless for the third straight game which is the longest scoring drought since 2018.

Redshirt junior goalkeeper Priya Gillan expands on the team’s recent struggles and what they need to do moving forward.

“We have a really good forward line,” said Gillan. “Everyone is super talented. This year we obviously have some new people in different roles and we have some players playing different positions so it’s just getting used to that and getting quality shots off. I wouldn’t say that our opponents’ defense has been any better, it’s just on us to make sure we put our chances away when we get them.”

Gillan, herself recorded a career-high nine saves in Sunday’s matchup against Milwaukee. Gillan’s nine saves is the most by a Redbird goalkeeper since Haley Smith recorded nine on October 17, 2018 against Indiana State.

“I was honestly really nervous for that game,” said Gillan. “Obviously playing an away team not at your home field does bring some nerves. You don’t know what the field is going to be like. After warmups, I was feeling ready to go and my teammates have a lot to do with that. They really help me manage that pregame nervousness. I have to really thank my teammates for that one. Without them I definitely wouldn’t be the player that I am and I wouldn’t have made those nine saves.”

The Redbirds attention now shifts to late Thursday afternoon as they are set to take on the Northwestern Wildcats who come in with a 2-3 record with their most recent game being a win against Kent State. Gillan expands on what the Redbirds need in order to snap their five game losing streak.

“We’ve had a really hard season so far,” said Gillan. “We’ve played a lot of really good teams. So what we’ve been working on more is being more united in our attack and that’s kind of something we’ve struggled a little bit, from me all to all the way to the forwards. Connecting on those passes and creating quality goal scoring opportunities is definitely something we are looking to see in our next game.”

Kickoff between the Redbirds and the Wildcats is set for 6pm at Adelaide Street Field.