Valparaiso’s Rodolfo Lucas (Mogi Mirim, Brazil/ [Coffeyville C.C.]) knotted up Sunday’s match with Wright State at one with a goal in the 79th minute, but the Raiders got the eventual match-winner in the 85th minute to earn a 2-1 win in Horizon League play at Eastgate Field.
“Congratulations to Wright State, I thought they battled hard and got what they deserved in terms of a result today,” said Crusader head coach Mike Avery. “On the flip side, I also think we got what we deserved. We weren’t sharp from the start, and our sloppiness in how we played caught up with us.”
Neither team scored in the first 45 minutes of play. The Raiders held a slight 7-6 advantage in shot attempts in the opening half, but attempted five corner kicks in the stanza as well to Valpo’s zero.
Wright Stategot on the board first in the 64th minute. Michael Conley took a throw-in deep in Valpo’s zone and tossed it to Josh Zimmerlin. Zimmerlin put a ball across the box to Braden Fleak, who was eight yards out on the right side. Fleak took the pass and found the back of the net for his Raider-best fourth goal of the year to put Wright State on top 1-0.
The Crusaders gained a man advantage for the last 23 minutes of the match after a Wright State player was sent off in the 67th minute. Oscar Lomeli (Jalisco, Mexico/ [Bethel (Ind.)]) had a fantastic opportunity at the equalizer three minutes later, but his header in the box found the crossbar and bounced back out.
The match would remain 1-0 until the 79th minute, when a Wright State foul gave Valpo a free kick on the left side from about 30 yards away. Lucas lined up and sent a ball along the ground that found its way through a group of players and past WSU netminder Matt Koewler into the right-hand side of the net to tie the match.
But the Raiders would re-take the lead in the 85th minute. Jordan Haggit crossed the ball into the six-yard box from the left flank, and waiting on the far post was Adam Harp, who headed the ball across the goal line to give Wright State a 2-1 lead it would not relinquish. Valpo had a pair of corner kicks in the final minute, but the first was knocked out by a Raider defender and Kyle Zobeck (Coralville, Iowa/Iowa City West), pushed up into the box from his goalkeeper position, just missed getting his head on the latter.
Zobeck stopped two shots in goal for the Crusaders, while Koewler made seven saves in the winning effort for Wright State (2-7-0, 1-0-0 Horizon). Valpo out-shot the Raiders 17-13, while Wright State had six corner kick opportunities to the Crusaders’ four.
Valparaiso (4-4-2, 0-1-1 Horizon) returns to the pitch on Friday, as the Crusaders travel to take on in-state rival Butler in Indianapolis. Kickoff is slated for 12:30 p.m., and live statistics will be available at www.valpoathletics.com.