Valparaiso scored a late second half goal and had pressure looking for the equalizer on Sunday afternoon, but the Crusaders fell one goal short dropping a 2-1 decision to Illinois State at Eastgate Field.
Lori Johnson (Sachse, Texas/Naaman Forest H.S.) settled a cross from left side fed by Tiffany Giusti (Coventry, R.I./Coventry H.S.) and found the back of the net with just 5:04 remaining in the contest to put the Brown and Gold on the scoreboard. For Johnson, it was her 11th career goal, moving her into a tie for fourth place on the Crusaders’ all-time goal-scoring list.
Valpo maintained some pressure over the final five minutes, and outshot the Redbirds 6-5 in the second half, but were unable to tie the contest.
Illinois State (2-0) opened the scoring 16:42 into the match as Mel Routledge took a Bethany Russ feed through the middle and scored from 15 yards outs. Ten minutes later, Routledge sent a ball into the middle that Yvonne Northover took, turned around, and fired into the upper right portion of the goal from 20 yards out to increase the lead to 2-0.
The Redbirds outshot Valpo 4-2 in the opening half, giving them a 9-8 edge for the match. Erin Murray (Pleasanton, Calif./Amador Valley H.S.) made one save for the Brown and Gold while Kati Grill-Donovan made two stops for the guests.
“I felt as if we started off well, but after we got countered for the first goal we sort of put our heads down a bit,” head coach Stephen Anthony said. “I was pleased with the way we responded in the second half, especially with the urgency we showed in the final 20 minutes in an attempt to tie the match. It is difficult to beat a good team when you put yourself in a 2-0 hole.”
Valparaiso (1-1) will wrap up its season-opening homestand on Friday afternoon at Eastgate Field as the Crusaders host IPFW. Kickoff is set for 3 p.m.