Valparaiso began its regular season-ending three-match road trip throughout Ohio on Friday afternoon by shutting out Youngstown State 1-0 in Youngstown, Ohio to move into a tie for fourth place in the Horizon League standings.
The victory, the Crusaders’ third in their last four matches, pulls them even with Butler in the race for the final home quarterfinal berth in the Horizon League Championships.
“We had some challenges today in getting a hold of the game, but we were sound defensively and maintained our composure,” head coach Stephen Anthony said afterwards.
The two schools battled through a scoreless opening 45 minutes with the Crusaders holding just a slim 8-6 advantage in shots at the break.
Valpo came out in the second half with a lot more pressure which resulted in the match’s lone goal. Jessie White (Buffalo Grove, Ill./Buffalo Grove H.S.) sent a cross into the box from the left side that found the foot of Brittany Derksen (Chugiak, Alaska/Chugiak H.S.). Derksen beat goalkeeper Caitlin Bodzioney for the goal, her third of the season, all of which are match-winners.
Derksen now has six match-winners in her career, moving her into a tie for third place on the Crusaders’ all-time list. The senior has 10 career goals, ninth all-time.
“The goal was set up nicely by Jessie and was a good finish by Brittany,” commented Anthony.
Valpo outshot the Penguins 10-2 in the second stanza, giving the Crusaders an 18-8 edge for the match. Valpo also held a 6-1 advantage in corner kick opportunities.
Erin Murray (Pleasanton, Calif./Amador Valley H.S.) made two saves to record her 19th career shutout for the Crusaders and fifth this season. Valpo has now shutout seven opponents on the year, setting a new single season record for clean sheets.
Bodzioney made eight saves for Youngstown State (1-14-1, 0-5 Horizon) in defeat.
“We had some good moments in the second half and played with good intent and purpose,” Anthony concluded.
Valparaiso (9-7, 3-3) will return to action on Sunday afternoon as the Crusaders head to Cleveland State. Kickoff is set for 12 p.m. CDT.