The Panthers scored in the ninth minute when sophomore Caitlyn Fuller hit a crossing pass from deep in the corner that senior Melissa Hagan buried in the back of the net, putting UNI on top 1-0 early. UNI then added what proved to be an extremely valuable goal in the 34th minute when freshman Maggie Riley hit a corner kick that senior Kiki McClellan headed into the net to put UNI on top, 2-0.
"We started very positively and were able to get our noses in front," said UNI head coach James Price.
Illinois State's Rachel Tejada, the reigning MVC Player of the Year, scored in the 55th minute when she controlled a punch out from UNI's Erin Zaideman and buried her shot in the back of the net. The one goal was all UNI allowed on the afternoon.
McClellan and Hagan both fired their only shot into the back of the net for the Panthers on the afternoon while senior Ashley Capone and freshman Maddie Welch each tallied a shot for UNI.
UNI managed just four shots in the entire match to the Redbirds' 18 but UNI slipped their only two shots on goal past the ISU keeper for scores. UNI held Illinois State to just three shots on goal but the Redbirds held a staggering advantage in corner kicks, nine to two.
Junior goalkeeper Erin Zaideman recorded two saves in the match while allowing just one goal to the defending MVC champions.
"We began the second half well but Illinois State is a great team and really pushed us back," Said Price. "We dug our heels in and rode our luck a bit but it is a great win. "
The victory moves UNI to a 7-8-1 overall mark including a program best four-game start to conference play at 2-1-1. The Panthers will be back in action on Saturday, Oct. 13, when they travel to face off with MVC foe Evansville. First kick is slated for 1:00 p.m.