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The Rockets Landing in Normal on Sunday

Written by on September 19, 2021

Photo courtesy of Ashley Piraino

NORMAL, Ill.- The Illinois State soccer team (2-7 Overall, 0-1 MVC) are back home as they are set to conclude their non-conference schedule against Toledo on Sunday, September 19.

The Redbirds are coming into Sunday’s matchup following a 1-0 loss over Valparaiso where they were shutout for the fourth time this season despite having a 17-12 shot advantage over the Rockets. Redbirds Head Coach Brad Silvey expands on his team’s loss as they started Missouri Valley Conference play.

“Definitely not the result we wanted,” said Silvey. “We played a great first half, but missed too many chances to take an early lead. Our inability to score caught up to us in the second half, and conceded the late goal put us in a moment of panic. There were fantastic moments from our team today, but if we want to win, we will need to be more clinical within our attack.”

The Redbirds attention quickly shifts to Sunday afternoon as they are set to take on the Toledo Rockets who come in with a 4-1-2 record with their most recent game being a loss from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. Silvey expands on what the Redbirds are focusing on heading into the matchup against Toledo.

“Quick turnaround to play again at home versus Toledo,” said Silvey. “This is another opportunity to sharpen and refine as a team. We need to focus on recovery and regroup as we push for our first win on Adelaide this season.”

The last time these two teams met was in September of 2018 where the Redbirds defeated the Rockets 2-1 from Scott Park in Toledo, Ohio. The Redbirds lead the all-time series 2-0 with Sunday’s matchup being the first time the Rockets are coming to Normal. Sophomore goalkeeper Daniela Grgas expands on what it means to close their non-conference schedule at home.

“I think it’s perfect we have another non-conference game to kinda break up our conference play,” said Grgas. “I think it’ll be a perfect opportunity for us to bounce back from Valpo and then to come back and play Toledo at home in front of our friends and family and get another win before we start the rest of conference play and just keep building up our confidence as we go into the Valley.”

Sunday’s game will also be the Redbirds quickest turnaround as they only have one day of rest. Grgas expands on how the recovery process looks for the Redbirds.

“Recovery will start right on our bus ride home and hopefully with a good stretch after our game,” said Grgas. “With that quick turn around, Saturday we’ll look to get some sleep as sleep is the best recovery. We’ll show up and do a little bit of a walk through and get our minds right for Toledo on Sunday and just work on some scouts, maybe some walk throughs, get some more minute players an opportunity to practice to get their mileage up. I think we put a lot of work in the practices and everything so far that we can take that day and work on the mental side of the game so that we’re physically ready on Sunday.”

Sunday’s matchup will also be a part of Redbird Soccer’s first Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion night as orange ribbons will be passed out as the student-athletes of the soccer program wanted to take initiative to create awareness for the Indigenous peoples of Canada and the United States who endured Residential Schools and Native American Boarding Schools.

Kickoff between the Redbirds and the Rockets is set for 12pm at Adelaide Street Field.