Aryn Newsom stopped eight shots in Illinois State's 2-1 win over Drake on Thursday. (Photo courtesy GoRedbirds.com)
By WJBC Staff
DES MOINES, Iowa. – A second-half goal from Anna Stinson and numerous key plays down the stretch from keeper Aryn Newsom led the Illinois State soccer team (11-4-2, 4-2-0 MVC) to a 2-1 win at Drake (12-5-2, 3-1-2 MVC) Thursday night at Cownie Stadium.
With the win, ISU leaped the Bulldogs to finish second in the conference and earn a bye into the semifinals of the MVC Tournament.
“We really had to dig deep for this win,” head coach Drew Roff said. “It was a very hostile environment, and Drake is a quick and great team that gave us some problems. It seemed like the game was getting away from us a little bit early in the second half, but we just dug our heels in and kept grinding away.”
The game was tied 1-1 entering the second half before the Bulldogs got the 30 mph wind behind their backs and controlled play the first 15 minutes after intermission. However, the Redbirds regained the momentum and the lead with Stinson’s goal in the 59th minute, her second of the season.
Newsom made eight saves on the evening, her second-most this season and most since stopping a career-high 10 shots against No. 19 Illinois Aug. 19.
“Aryn was very solid down the stretch, dealing with a heavy wind in her face and coming out to grab a couple of crosses and make some great saves,” Roff said. “She gave us a championship-level performance tonight.”
Senior back Kristin Cooley started the 71st-straight game of her career and played all 90 minutes, becoming the program’s all-time leader in minutes played with 6,322. She surpasses 2009 teammate Danielle Mutters, who was eight minutes ahead of Cooley entering the match.
ISU, the defending tournament champion, will begin play against either No. 3-seed Drake or No. 6-seed Creighton in Omaha, Neb., on Friday, Nov. 2.