The Illinois State soccer team made program history Saturday night as the Redbirds earned a shootout win over the host Michigan Wolverines in an NCAA Tournament First Round match at U-M Soccer Stadium. With the score knotted up at 2-2 after two overtime periods, the Redbirds won the shootout, 5-4.
Lauren Koehl and Emily Dickman scored Illinois State’s regulation goals, but Michigan answered each score to twice erase a Redbird lead. Neither team scored in overtime, but all five Redbirds to take a shot in the shootout found the back of the net, before Michigan’s final shooter hit the post to give the Redbirds the win.
“It was entertaining from beginning to end. My heart is up in my throat a little bit right now, and since I got a Gatorade cooler dumped on me and it’s 25 degrees out, I’m probably shaking right now,” said Illinois State head coach Eric Golz. “It was a rollercoaster. There were some extreme highs, in terms of when we scored and put together some really good sequences of soccer, and some extreme lows, when we gave up the lead twice, so it was kind of an up and down rollercoaster that we were on.
“But through it all, our players found a way.”
Illinois State extended its school-record unbeaten streak to 15 matches with Saturday’s win. The Redbirds will now face No. 14 Duke in a match at Durham, North Carolina, next weekend. Stay tuned to NCAA.comand GoRedbirds.com for more details on the date and time of the match.
Illinois State (15-5-2) weathered an early attack from the Wolverines as the hosts peppered the Redbird goal with four shots over the first 10 minutes of play. The Redbirds settled in after, however, as both teams traded scoring chances. The Redbirds broke through with Koehl’s goal in the 37th minute and kept the Wolverines off the scoreboard the rest of the half
Michigan (10-6-4) evened the score in the 51st minute when Jada Dayne score her first-career goal on a header off a set piece. The Redbirds pushed back ahead in the 68th minute when Dickman slotted a shot past Michigan goalkeeper Sarah Jackson, after receiving a perfectly-placed pass from Kelli Zickert. The Wolverines tied it up and forced overtime, though, when Nicky Waldeck headed a shot past Redbird keeper Haley Smith in the 75th minute.
Both teams had chances during the overtime periods, though neither scored. Michigan put a ball in the back of the net off corner kicks in each overtime, but both were negated by fouls called by the head referee. Illinois State’s best chance came in the 106th minute when Paige Jarsombeck‘s headed effort was tipped over the crossbar by Michigan’s Jackson.
Michigan outshot Illinois State, 18-10, while also holding a 6-5 edge in corner kicks taken. Smith, the Redbird keeper, made five saves.
Saturday’s win marked the Illinois State soccer team’s third NCAA Tournament win in program history. The Redbirds will have a chance to advance past the second round for the first time in school history when it heads to Duke next weekend.
“We’ll appreciate this and we’ll enjoy this tonight,” Golz said after Saturday’s win. “But tomorrow, it’s back to work.”
GoRedbirds.com: Your online source for Illinois State Athletics tickets, Weisbecker Scholarship Fund gifts, multimedia, Redbird merchandise, photos and more.