“It was a good game tonight by both teams,” said Crusader head coach Mike Avery. “We gave up an early set-piece goal to them, but otherwise it was a very even game. They had some good early chance, and then as we chased the game, especially in the second half, we had some very good chances.”
The Crusaders had a few chances within the game’s opening ten minutes to notch the first marker, but shots by Paul Leitelt (Munster, Ind./Munster) and Clifton Brown (Chillicothe, Ohio/Unioto) couldn’t find the frame, while an attempt by Zack Stivers (Brownsburg, Ind./Brownsburg) was turned aside by Phoenix netminder Adam Stikl. Green Bay got on the board when David Prochazka took a free kick in the 11th minute that was headed by Tony Walls over to Znaty for a one-timer that got past Kyle Zobeck (Coralville, Iowa/Iowa City West) for the game’s first score.
But Valpo’s early flurry of shots was the only attempts they would have in the opening 45 minutes, and the Crusaders would have just two more shots in the first 30+ minutes of the second half, both of which were sent wide of the goal by Chadd Sult (South Bend, Ind./John Adams). Zobeck would keep Valpo within one goal, however, stopping attempts by the Phoenix in the 71st and 75th minutes.
Oscar Lomeli (Jalisco, Mexico/ [Bethel (Ind.)]) would get his first shot attempt of the game off in the 79th minute, but it went wide of the frame. Lomeli’s shot kicked off a bunch of Valpo opportunities in the game’s closing stages, but none of them could find the back of the net for the equalizing tally. Stivers, Lomeli and J.J. Del Castillo (Mexico City, Mexico/Seaholm [Gardner-Webb]) all had shots blocked by Green Bay defenders in the last ten minutes. Valpo’s last effort would come off the foot of Leitelt, who sent a ball at the far post in the final 30 seconds of play. But the shot skipped just wide of the post as the game ended one-nil.
Green Bay (5-7-3, 3-2-1 Horizon) outshot Valpo by a 12-10 margin and put four shots on goal to one for the Crusaders. Stikl had to make just the lone save for the shutout, only the second time this year Valpo has been shut out, while Zobeck made three saves on his end.
Valparaiso (5-8-2, 0-5-1 Horizon) steps out of Horizon League play for the final time in the regular season as it travels to East Lansing, Mich. to take on 2007 NCAA Tournament participant Michigan State. Kickoff is slated for 1:30 p.m. CDT on Sunday afternoon, with a link to live statistics available at www.valpoathletics.com.