Neither Valparaiso nor Wright State could dent the scoreboard for the first 109 minutes of action Sunday afternoon in Dayton, Ohio, but the Raiders found the back of the net with just 22 seconds remaining in the second overtime period to win the game, 1-0. The Crusaders were forced to play the final 50 minutes of the game a man down.
“We put in a really good defensive effort today,” said Crusader head coach Mike Avery. “The red card changed the complexion of the game, forcing us to sit in our end and defend and try to get counter-opportunities. We did that successfully and created a number of chances with just ten men. Our defensive shape was as good as it has been all year.”
The two squads could not find the back of the net in the game’s 90 minutes of regulation, with Wright State (6-11-0, 3-4-0 Horizon) taking 20 shots to Valpo’s seven. The first overtime period did not bring about a goal, either, and the game looked to be heading to a scoreless draw until Wright State’s Brian Cothern took possession off of a free kick, dribbled past a couple defenders, and found the bottom right portion of the net at the 109:38 mark.
“We could have played that situation differently,” said Avery. “We took a free kick quickly with time running down instead of taking time to set something up, and Wright State drew a foul off of it and countered right back at us. Give (Cothern) credit, that was a really well-taken shot at the end.”
Crusader goalkeeper Ryan Schwarz (Rockford, Ill./Boylan Catholic) continued his stellar play in net, stopping 11 shots on the day, including a marvelous leaping save with under three minutes to play in the second overtime to keep the Raiders off the board. The sophomore lowered his GAA this season to 1.71, which would match the lowest single-season GAA for a Valpo goalie in program history.
“Ryan did his usual great job keeping the ball out of the goal today,” said Avery. “The main thing he does so well is that he doesn’t just make the save, he also doesn’t allow second-chance opportunities.”
Valparaiso (3-9-3, 1-3-2 Horizon) returns to League play Wednesday as the Crusaders travel to UIC. Kickoff is slated for 7 p.m. CDT.