(Munster, Ind./Munster) recorded the first Valpo hat trick in 11 seasons and Steve Shively
(Indianapolis, Ind./North Central) capped a furious Crusader rally with a double-overtime winner as Valpo improved to 2-0 on the season by upending Evansville 5-4 (2ot) at Eastgate Field Sunday afternoon.
Leitlet, a sophomore, helped the Crusaders erase a pair of two-goal deficits, and sent the game into overtime with his third goal of the match in the 89th minute. The last Crusader hat trick came September 17, 1995 when Bryan McCulloch tallied three times against Bradley.
The match started with Evansville, in their first match under new Head Coach Mike Jacobs, dominating the action. The Purple Aces got on the board in the 17th minute and scored again in the 32nd minute to take a commanding 2-0 lead. But Leitelt sent the match to halftime 2-1 after he took a pretty feed up-field from Mark Wolka
(Rochester Hills, Mich./Lutheran North) and blasted one past Evansville keeper Alec Dufty.
Still, at the break Evansville had controlled most of the play and out-shot the Brown and Gold 12-7, forcing freshman keeper Ryan Schwarz
(Rockford, Ill./Boylan Catholic) to make five first half saves.
Early in the second half, the Purple Aces scored again when Cory Elenio beat Schwarz to make it 3-1 in the 55th minute. But just 1:06 later, the Crusaders scored when a Jeremy Stacy
(Grand Rapids, Mich./Forest Hills Central) throw-in deep in the Evansville zone ticked Wolka and into the net to make it 3-2. Only four minutes after that goal, Leitelt got back into the action when he sent a penalty kick past Dufty at the 59:20 mark to bring the Crusaders all the way back even at 3-3.
But Evansville quickly re-took the lead. Elenio scored again the 62nd minute, just 1:49 after Leitelt's goal, to give the lead back to the visitors at 4-3. The game remained tied until the 89th minute when J.J. Eschenburg
(Edgewood, N.M./Moriarty) found D.J. Catrow
(Springfield, Ohio/Catholic Central) along the near sideline. Catrow then chipped a perfect ball into the box for Leitelt who found the back of the net and sent the enthusiastic crowd over 400 at Eastgate Field into a frenzy.
After a scoreless but busy first overtime in which the teams combined for six shots (three on goal), the Crusaders were awarded a free kick just ouside the box when Shively was taken down charging after a long pass in the 104th minute. Leitlet fired the free kick over the wall and off the arms of Dufty, but the rebound came right to Shively who recorded his second match winner in only the second match of his career.
On a crazy offensive day, Valpo out-shot Evansville 24-22 and the clubs combined for 13 corners and 14 saves. Schwarz had five saves for the Crusaders, who also made two team stops, to pick up his second win in as many starts.
The Crusaders are now 2-0 for the first time since 1987 when they began the year 3-0. And Sunday was the first time a Valpo team scored five goals since a 5-4 win over Triton in November of 1998.
After a much-needed week off, Valpo will head to California to compete in the Copa de Causeway Tournament beginning Friday, September 2 at UC-Davis at 7:00 p.m. The Brown and Gold will round out the weekend Sunday, September 4 at 2:00 p.m. when they visit Sacramento State.