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Redbirds Host SIU for Missouri Valley Conference Play

Written by on September 25, 2021

Photo courtesy of Ashley Piraino

NORMAL, Ill.- The Illinois State soccer team (2-8 Overall, 0-1 MVC) resume Missouri Valley Conference play as they host the visiting Southern Illinois Salukis on Saturday, September 25.

The Redbirds are coming into Saturday’s matchup following a heartbreaking 1-0 loss against Toledo in extra time where they played great defensively only being outshot 11-10. With this loss, the Redbirds have yet to win a game at Adelaide Street Field where they are 0-5 which is their worst start at home in program history. Junior forward Allison Baker expands on what it would mean to finally get a win at home.

“Oh my gosh it would be awesome, I can’t wait,” said Baker. “I think we have a great chance this weekend with having a great, big environment at the field on Saturday, all the supporting fans and hopefully we have a good turnout. This would help us get rolling into the rest of conference.”

The Redbirds now eye Saturday’s matchup against the Salukis as a great opportunity to get a conference win at home as Southern Illinois is 0-8-1 this season and are on an 18-match winless streak which dates back to 2019. The last time out for Southern Illinois was a 3-1 loss against Murray State on Sunday, September 19. Baker expanded on what the Redbirds are focusing on coming into Saturday’s matchup.

“Coming off a loss against Toledo we felt like we grew as a team actually,” said Baker. “We took a nice step forward as a group and we looked and worked like a cohesive team again. If we can play similar and implement the same game plan we should be in a good place. We’ve been working on trying to get the ball through each line and really connecting with one another as well as stepping in quickly and hard and just being a presence and disrupting the run of play against them. We plan to sit back a little off of their defense and let them come to us and find the right time to step. We just need to play smart soccer again and look for easy options, work together, timing our runs before a line, and winning 50/50 plays in the midfield.”

On Sunday’s matchup the team will honor Army Ranger Sgt. Josh Rodgers, who passed away in April 2017 in the Nangarhar Province. Joshua’s sister, former Illinois State soccer player Hannah Rodgers, and her family will be in attendance and present the game ball before the match.

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