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Redbirds Open MVC Play Against Valpo

Written by on September 17, 2021

Photo courtesy of Ashley Piraino

NORMAL, Ill.- The Illinois State soccer team (2-6) are on the road as they begin Missouri Valley Conference play on Friday, September 17 against Valparaiso. Sophomore goalkeeper Daniela Grgas expanded on the team’s excitement heading into conference play.

“Conference play is kind of what we have been looking forward to all pre-season,” said Grgas. “Obviously we want to come out with a ring at the end of the year and I think that conference play is an opportunity for us to show that all the work that we put in pre-season and all the development that we had through all the non-conference games are gonna prepare us to be the most successful team in the valley.”

The Redbirds are coming into Friday’s matchup following a 4-2 win over Northern Illinois where fifth-year senior Natalie Vaugh-Low netted in her second brace of the season to go along with juniors Indianna Asimus and Allison Baker who each scored one goal. This scoring performance by the Redbirds marks the second time ISU has scored four goals after the team scored four to open the season at Eastern Michigan.

The backline for the Redbirds looked different as goalkeeper Daniela Grgas received her first start of the season in Sunday’s matchup. Grgas recorded four saves and the win as she helped the Redbirds snap their six-game losing streak. Grgas expanded on how it felt to make an impact on the team.

“Whether you’re playing or not as a goalie, you’ll always have to be prepared enough to play,” said Grgas. “I was excited for the opportunity to step on the field and I felt pretty ready for it. I knew that our team needed a win and I knew NIU is a team we can be extremely competitive with so the fact that we walked away with the win, I think was huge for our team especially leading into conference play on Friday.”

The Redbirds attention is now set on Friday evening as they take on Valparaiso who come into the matchup on a 3-4-1 record with their most recent game resulting in a 3-0 win over Chicago State. Grgas explains what the Redbirds are focusing on.

“We know that there’s no easy games in our conference,” said Grgas. “What were thinking about going into Valpo is that we are prepared as possible and we have our pieces put together. No matter what Valpo brings to us, I feel confident with every girl in our team that we can matchup and eventually beat Valpo. Coach Brad has really prepared us to work with different players on the field and work with different lineups. I think that has really been huge and our team chemistry has continued to grow throughout the season.”

Kickoff between the Redbirds and Valparaiso is set for 7:30pm at Brown Field in Valparaiso, Indiana.