Women’s soccer falls in final non-conference match

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Women’s soccer falls in final non-conference match

Bianca Romay dribbles past RedBird defender in final non-conference match.

Bianca Romay dribbles past RedBird defender in final non-conference match.

Pedro Avila/Assistant Photo Editor

Bianca Romay dribbles past RedBird defender in final non-conference match.

Pedro Avila/Assistant Photo Editor

Pedro Avila/Assistant Photo Editor

Bianca Romay dribbles past RedBird defender in final non-conference match.

Bradley Piros, Courier Staff

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MACOMB Ill. – Western Illinois University’s women’s soccer program lost to the Illinois State University Redbirds 1-0 on Sunday, dropping to 1-10 for the season. This was the Leathernecks’ last non-conference game, and they were once again unable to get the win they needed.

Western can’t hang their heads low just yet, because their season is far from over. The last six games on their schedule are all in the Summit League. The good news is that the first three of those games are all at home, while the bad news is that their three most difficult games against South Dakota University, the University of Denver and University of Nebraska-Omaha are all away to end their regular season. The Leathernecks know that their schedule only gets harder from here on out.

Their most recent match up against the Redbirds was the start of a four-game home stead, and it was clear that the Leathernecks had something to prove after being defeated by Drake University in double overtime just a week prior. Western was hungry for another win, and wanted to make the home crowd proud during Homecoming weekend festivities, so they came out fast in the early moments of the game.

“Other than the 10 minutes to start the second half, we battled and defended pretty well,” said Director of Soccer Eric Johnson. “We looked like we tied it up but didn’t get the call from the linesman. It was a good response considering we traveled back from Tulsa early Saturday morning. Illinois State picked up their energy to start the second half and was rewarded with a goal. If we can work this hard next Sunday, we will have a chance to pick up some points in our next match.”

First off, it appeared Western was trying out a new formation. The Leathernecks usually play a 4-3-3, which limited their attack and opened them up in the midfield, but for this game they lined up in a 4-2-3-1 formation. This new arrangement created more offense and strengthened their midfield, benefitting the team.

The rest of the first half however went back and forth between both teams, but mainly was controlled by the Redbirds as they had a lot of the possession. Both teams had their fair share of chances, but neither team was able to break the dead lock going into halftime.

The second half led to plenty more opportunities, especially for ISU in the early minutes. This time the Redbirds came out strong which led to multiple shots, and eventually the lone goal of the game. The goal was assisted by sophomore forward Mikayla Unger as she passed it to junior forward Angel Krell. The pass was inside the 18-yard box as Krell turned well with the ball and put her shot in the upper left corner away from senior goalkeeper Jennifer Currie.

The Redbirds gained momentum after the goal, and dominate the rest of the second half, but Western hadn’t given up yet. Although, ISU dominated the time of possession, the Leathernecks didn’t quit until the final whistle, especially sophomore midfielder Bianca Romay. She took two shots, one that just barely went wide of the post, and another in the 87th minute that slammed against the cross bar and bounced straight down.

The shot appeared to be a good goal, however the lineman referee signaled differently. The score stayed 1-0, and the game would soon end that way.

Western lost the game, but they can take many positive things out of it. The Leathernecks face  Fort Wayne University this Sunday at 1 p.m.Twitter: @bradjp08

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