Jessica Carlson’s goal in the 52nd minute gave Illinois State its second MVC Tournament title, as the Redbirds defeated Creighton, 1-0 Sunday afternoon at Morrison Stadium. Illinois State advances to the NCAA Division I tournament, while the Bluejays end their season at 13-6-2.
Carlson gave the Redbirds the lead with her league-best 11th goal of the season. Creighton’s clear attempt near its own goal was blocked by Carlson. She then beat two Creighton defenders to the middle of the box, and beat a diving Alicia Montgomery just inside the right post for the only goal of the match.
Illinois State’s last title came in 2002, when they also defeated Creighton 1-0 in overtime. Montgomery made five saves for Creighton, as the Jays defense finished the season allowing the fewest goals (13) of any CU squad. That mark also set an MVC record. Sasha Reiber stopped one Creighton shot, but Brittney Neumann had the two best opportunities for Creighton, catching Reiber out of the net both times. Her first shot bounced off the right post in the 15th minute, and an odd angle shot in the 43rd minute landed on top of the net. Neumann and Andrea Zuniga combined for six of the seven Creighton shots, with three apiece.
Playing for the conference championship is nothing new for these two teams. The Redbirds and Jays’ last four meetings in the Valley tournament have come in the championship matches. Creighton won the title in 2007 and 2002, while Illinois State added this year’s title to its only other triumph in 2003.
Creighton had three players named to the MVC All-Tournament Team. Neumann, Beth Fyles and Laura Nasseri all earned spots on the team.