Illinois soccer searches for fourth victory of season against Indiana State

Senior+midfielder+Eileen+Murphy+prepares+to+kick+the+ball+during+the+game+against+Texas+A%26M+on+Thursday.+The+Illini+will+be+going+up+against+Indiana+State+at+Demirjian+Park+on+Sunday.+

Sidney Malone

Senior midfielder Eileen Murphy prepares to kick the ball during the game against Texas A&M on Thursday. The Illini will be going up against Indiana State at Demirjian Park on Sunday.

By James Kim, Assistant Sports Editor

Illinois soccer is back in action on Sunday, welcoming Indiana State to Demirjian Park. The Illini are looking to snap a two-game losing streak and jump back in the win column with a positive result against the Sycamores.

The last time out, Illinois suffered a narrow 1-0 defeat to No. 18 Texas A&M. The Aggies became the first team this season to take down the Illini at Demirjian Park, with the Illini’s only other setback being a 4-0 loss to the Fighting Irish.

Despite Illinois’ recent dip in form, Indiana State will be coming to Champaign with little wind in its sails. The Sycamores have had a rough start to the 2022 season, and are winless in four matches. With an 0-3-1 record, Indiana State should provide a winnable match for an Illinois team that needs to rediscover its footing.

Indiana State opened the season with a 2-1 loss to SIUE, managed a 0-0 draw against Eastern Illinois and suffered back-to-back 3-0 defeats against Toledo and Indiana, respectively. Both Illinois and Indiana State have played Eastern Illinois and Toledo in 2022. However, while the Sycamores struggled, the Illini managed large wins over these two opponents, dominating the Panthers 5-0 in an exhibition match and cruising past the Rockets 4-1 during senior day. While an Illinois victory is by no means guaranteed on Sunday, there is reason to hope among the fans.

Historically, Sunday’s match will see the Illini and the Sycamores meet for the fourth time in history. Illinois holds a 2-1-0 record against Indiana State and will be looking to extend the lead.

In order to do so, the Illini will need to create the scoring opportunities that they did in the first three matches of the season. Illinois consistently managed to be an offensive threat against Illinois State, Toledo and No. 17 Butler, but has since gone scoreless. Understandably, a now-ranked Notre Dame side as well as a strong No. 18 Texas A&M team were able to limit Illinois’ attacking abilities. However, Sunday’s game against the Sycamores should help the Illini rediscover their scoring identity.

A recent highlight in Illinois’ lineup has been junior goalkeeper Julia Cili. Despite recent results, Cili has been performing well, showcasing top class saves against highly-rated opposition forwards. Particularly against the Fighting Irish, Cili made the third-most saves in Illini program history during a single match, recording a career-high 13 saves. The junior goalkeeper will continue to be an important part of Illinois’ lineup moving forward.

Illinois (3-2-0) will be preparing to right the ship against Indiana State (0-3-1) at home on Sunday. The match will kickoff at 7 p.m. under the bright lights of Demirjian Park.

 

@james_kim15

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