After 82 minutes of scoreless soccer, Jon Brighton
(Warner Robins, Ga./Houston County) got the Crusaders on the board and an insurance goal two minutes later secured the win as Valpo defeated Oral Roberts for the first time since 1998, 2-0 at Eastgate Field Friday night.
The Brown and Gold won for only the third time in 12 all-time meetings with the Golden Eagles, and started the conference season 1-0 for the first time since 2002. 1998, the last season the Crusaders beat ORU, was also the last time the Crusaders won a Mid-Con title. Valpo is also 5-2 for the first time in school history and can match their win total from last season with a victory Sunday against Cleveland State.
Brighton's goal, his second of the season, broke up an exciting back-and-forth match that saw 19 combined second half shots and some spectacular saves from Crusader keeper Ryan Schwarz
(Rockford, Ill./Boylan Catholic).
(Mundelein, Ill./Mundelein) got the decisive goal started with a chip ahead to D.J. Catrow
(Springfield, Ohio/Catholic Central). Catrow then danced to the right edge of the box and put a beautiful ball to the far post where Brighton rocketed the ball past keeper Carlos Veron.
Two minutes later, Catrow again set up a Crusader goal with a great individual effort, racing through the defense and finding Jeremy Stacy
(Grand Rapids, Mich./Forest Hills Central) just outside the box. The senior was able to beat Veron for just the second goal of his career and first since 2004.
Catrow's two assists give the Ohio State transfer three this season and 13 in his three years as a Crusader. That total puts him all alone in third place on the all-time list, one ahead of Stacy and three behind career record holder Brian Thiel. Catrow now also has 11 points this season, tops on the team, and 37 in his career, one shy of 10th all-time.
Schwarz picked up his second straight shutout, and third of the season, by making seven tough saves, four in the second half. The freshman now has 44 saves this season, tops in the Mid-Con, and his three shutouts are sixth-most in a single-season in Valpo history and halfway to Kevin Hughes' 19-year-old school record.
The two teams were even at 15 in shots, but the Golden Eagles (1-4-2, 0-1-0) had an 11-2 edge on corner kicks and committed 25 fouls to 18 for Valpo. Miguel Peralta led the ORU attack with three shots, two on goal.
Valpo (5-2-0, 1-0-0) will gun for that sixth win of the season at 1:00 p.m. Sunday against the Vikings. That match can be heard live on 95.1 FM and online at www.valpo.edu/athletics.