Russ Nets Game-Winner In Double Overtime To Send ISU to MVC Final
Nov. 9, 2007
EVANSVILLE, Ind. - Senior Bethany Russ scored twice, including the game-winner, to give the No. 1 Redbirds (10-4-3) a 3-2 double-overtime victory over No. 4 Drake (7-10-2) in the semifinals of the 2007 State Farm Missouri Valley Conference Championship on Friday, Nov. 9. Russ' scored 57 seconds into the second overtime to cap a thrilling match that had four goals in a 20-minute stretch at the end of the second half. The Redbirds will face No. 3 Creighton in the tournament final on Sunday, Nov. 11, at 1 p.m. The game can be seen live on FSN Midwest.
Illinois State had a 3-on-2 breakway as the second overtime began that produced the game-winning goal. Freshman Bethany Brown brought the ball down the left side and played it into the middle to senior Yvonne Northover. After a quick touch, Northover found Russ open on the right side of the field and she put the ball in the near side of the net.
Russ has a team-best nine goals on the season, putting her in a tie for the fourth-best total in ISU single-season history. Her 40 career points are tied for second-best all-time in school history and her 16 career goals are tied for third.
Northover's assist brought her career total to 10 and made her the third player in Illinois State history to record double-digits in career goals and assists. The 2007 Valley Player of the Year leads the Redbirds with 21 points, the fourth-best total in school history. Brown's assist was her second of the season, the most of any ISU freshman.
The Redbirds scored twice in a three-minute span in the second half to take a commanding 2-0 lead, but Drake answered with two goals of its own in a six-minute span towards the end of the half to force overtime. Russ and sophomore Ammanda Wisniewski scored the first two goals for ISU on assists from junior Mel Routledge and senior Amanda Lauber, respectively. Sophomore goalkeeper Katie Grill-Donovan tied her career-high with eight saves.
"It was a very back and forth game," said head coach Drew Roff. "We were up 2-0 and Drake showed why they have won some championships in the past by never quitting. It's always tough to lose a lead like we did, but I told them heading into overtime that it didn't matter how we got to that point, we had to focus on what was ahead. We kept knocking on the door and nothing was happening, but the players never quit and scored that last goal."
In the 33rd minute, Lauber took a corner from the right side and played a long, low ball into the penalty box. Sophomore Danielle Mutters made a great run on the play and headed the ball into the left side of the net for the apparent first goal, but a foul was called on the Redbirds and the score was wiped off.
Illinois State broke the game open midway through the second half. The first goal of the game came in the 64th minute when Northover played a corner kick into the box and Russ flicked the ball on goal, but a Drake defender came in at the last second to knock it away before it trickled over the line. Routledge stayed on the play on the right side and crossed the ball back in where Russ was able to knock it past Drake goaltender Alyssa Lee.
Three minutes later, Lauber lofted the ball over the Drake defense and Wisniewski ran it down with no one but Lee in front of her. She juked left past the goalie and buried a wide open shot into the left side to increase the Redbird cushion to 2-0.
Drake had a chance to cut the lead in half in the 74th minute when Sarah Foote headed a cross on net, but Grill-Donovan knocked the ball away as she fell into the goal and sophomore Amy Heredia cleared it to the sideline. The Bulldogs knocked on the door three minutes later with a free kick right in front of the goal that was headed and kicked, but the Redbird defense didn't let Drake get any clear shots and Grill-Donovan muscled her way through the crowd to take control of the ball.
The Bulldogs continued to push and tied the game with two goals in a span of six minutes. In the 79th minute, Elizabeth Woerle chipped the ball in front of Foote, who was streaking down the left side. Foote muscled past sophomore Shannon Eccleston and blasted a shot just inside the left post to pull Drake within one. With less than six minutes left in regulation, Drake tied the game when Julie Hickman volleyed a loose ball from 15 yards out into the upper right corner.
The second half not only featured four goals in 20 minutes, it also had 17 of the games 32 shots; nine by ISU and eight by Drake.
In the first overtime period, the Redbirds had the first scoring chances. Wisniewski played the ball to Northover on the right and she had a shot that caromed off the post to the left. Routledge crashed the left side and tried a one-time shot that went into the side of the net. One minute later, the ball was played deep into the Drake zone and Lee came out to play it, but the ball bounded free to the right side. Russ flicked it towards the empty net as a Drake defender came rushing towards her, but it bounced wide.
Illinois State will try to win its second Valley title on Sunday. The Redbirds won the championship as the No. 2 seed in 2003 to earn a bid to the only NCAA Tournament in school history.