Redbirds Route Racers in Exhibition Opener
Aug. 8, 2012
MURRAY, Ky. - The Illinois State soccer team opened the exhibition portion of its 2012 season with a 6-0 victory over the Murray State Racers on Wednesday. Five Redbirds scored, while every available field player saw action in the win.
"I think one of our strengths this season is our depth," head coach Drew Roff said. "It was great to see some of our young players get some playing time, and I thought they handled it well. There are some other things we will certainly need to do better, but today was a good first step."
Junior Kyla Cross opened the scoring just five minutes in to the game on an unassisted tally to give the Redbirds an early 1-0 advantage. That's how the score remained until the second half, when ISU scored five times. Sophomore Aimee Wronski tallied in the 51st minute on an assist from Lauren Koehl to grow the lead. Later, the 2011 21-goal-scorer Rachel Tejada picked up where she left off by scoring twice in a two-minute span, with Gabbi McArtor and Cross notching the assists, to giving the Redbirds a four-goal cushion. Allie Newsom and Keri Kujawa rounded out the second-half scoring barrage.
"Your first time out, there are going to be nerves and there's going to be an adjustment period," Roff said of the differences in play between halves. "I felt like as soon as we could get our composure and keep the ball on the ground, we would be fine.
"Once we settled down after the first 10 or 15 minutes, I thought we had some nice combinations, and I thought we played our game, which is what we were trying to do."
The Redbirds fired 21 shots overall, with nine coming on goal. Defensively, Aryn Newsom started in goal and recorded three saves in the shutout victory, while Kristin Cooley, Alyse Williams, Heather Sterling, and McArtor started along the back line.
The Redbirds next return home for a pair of exhibition matches against the Memphis Tigers Friday at 1 p.m. and the Eastern Michigan Eagles Sunday at 12 p.m. The Tigers come to Adelaide Street Field ranked 14th in the pre-season National Soccer Coaches Association of America/Continental Tire poll, and are coming off a 21-1-1 2011 campaign.
"If we have some weaknesses, a team like Memphis will certainly expose them," Roff said. "That's what we're looking forward to in our next game. Playing a team of that level lets us know what we do well and what we need to work on to improve."
The Redbirds will open the regular season Aug. 17 at Southeast Missouri State before returning to Adelaide Street Field on Aug. 19 against in-state foe Illinois.
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