Three goals in a span of less than three minutes late in the match pushed Valparaiso past Saint Joseph’s (Ind.) 4-2 on Saturday evening in exhibition soccer action at Eastgate Field.
“This match served its purpose,” Crusader head coach John Marovich said. “We have to find our best system, especially after losing five starters from last season.”
Valparaiso controlled the action for a majority of the match, but found itself trailing 2-1 with 15 minutes to play. Sarah Jewell (Kansas City, Mo./Park Hill H.S.) tied the contest with a header in the box from Jessie White (Buffalo Grove, Ill./Buffalo Grove H.S.) with 13:22 to remaining. Courtney Gwinn (Evansville, Ind./Harrison H.S.) then put the Crusaders on top at the 11:41 mark scoring from 15 yards out after receiving a feed from White.
Kendall Brown (Lake Zurich, Ill./Carmel Catholic H.S.) added an insurance tally for Valpo with 10:30 to play scoring on a penalty kick.
Valpo jumped in front 1-0 just 5:40 into the match when Sarah Melhorn (White Bear Lake, Minn./White Bear Lake H.S.) dribbled through several defenders into the box and scored to the far post.
The Pumas tied the match less than six minutes later on a Jenny Merkel goal and took the lead a minute later as Ashley VanSlooten won the ball on the endline and scored inside the box.
Valpo controlled the pace throughout, outshooting Saint Joseph’s 22-2 for the match, but Puma goalkeeper Sarah Croskrey made eight stops to keep the match tight.
“Our attack was not there early but we had possession throughout,” added Marovich. “We had more purpose with our attack in the second half and were able to find the back of the net.”
The Crusaders had 11 corner kick opportunities in the match as well, but could not tie the contest until the final 15 minutes.
Valparaiso will open the regular season on Friday afternoon at Eastgate Field as the Crusaders host Ball State. Kickoff is set for 5:15 p.m.