Leinert, Tejada Each Tally Five Points, as ISU Tops UNI, 5-0
WATERLOO, Iowa - Two goals and one assist apiece from Rachel Tejada and Hannah Leinert led the Illinois State soccer team to a 5-0 win at Northern Iowa, Thursday evening. The win increases ISU's winning streak to a season-best four games, and moves it into sole possession of first place atop the Missouri Valley Conference standings with three regular-season games remaining.
The five goals are a season-high this season for the Redbirds (9-6-0, 3-0-0 MVC), who registered their second-straight shutout and third in the last four games. While it was primarily a stout defense that led ISU to its first two MVC wins, Thursday's performance represented the complete effort that head coach Drew Roff had been searching for from his team.
"We were looking for that game that really got our scorers and playmakers rolling," Roff said. "In the second half, the third, fourth and fifth goals were really fun to see.
"It was a great performance," Roff added. "It was great to see some of those combinations we've been waiting for up top to come through."
Tejada's goals were her league-leading 10th and 11th of the season, and broke a two-game goalless drought. Leinert's tallies were her sixth and seventh, the second-most on the team, while Kyla Cross scored ISU's other goal. Cross also added her league-leading seventh assist, with Leinert, Tejada, Anna Stinson and Ali Farkos registering helpers as well.
Leinert gave the Redbirds a 1-0 lead in the 18th minute, collecting a loose ball that was jarred free by a sliding tackle from Tejada in ISU's own territory. Leinert sprinted about 50 yards forward, shielding off a UNI (2-13-0, 1-3-0 MVC) defender the entire way before beating the keeper for the goal.
In the 29th minute, Leinert found Tejada to double the Redbirds' lead. Leinert chipped a ball over the top to Tejada at the edge of the box, who chipped one by the keeper for the 2-0 advantage that would stand into halftime.
The first 35 minutes of the second half were scoreless, before ISU exploded for three goals in the final 10 minutes. Leinert scored her second of the game it the 82nd minute, converting a feed from Tejada that was set up by a ball played in to the box from the right side by Cross. In the 84th minute, Stinson played in Tejada for a one-on-one opportunity with the keeper, which she converted to make it 4-0. Cross rounded out the scoring with her third goal of the season, and first since Aug. 23, when she tallied on a feed from Farkos that gave the Redbirds a 5-0 advantage.
Goalkeeper Aryn Newsom wasn't called upon to make any saves, as the defensive combination of Gabbi McArtor, Rhianna Krutz, Abby Van Deventer, Sara Stankoskey and Kara Morway limited the Panthers to just five shots. The Redbirds have allowed just one goal in three Valley games, and no more than two in their last 11 matches.
"I thought our backs did a great job," Roff said. "UNI plays a style that can be tough to defend sometimes, because they play the ball over the top a lot. I thought all of our backs, and our center backs in particular, dealt with and read that very well."
Illinois State returns to Adelaide Street Field for a match against defending MVC regular-season champion Evansville, Sunday at 1 p.m. ISU's three seniors - Cross, Allie Newsom and Stinson - will be recognized before the game, with the annual Heidecke Day ceremony taking place after the match.
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