Valparaiso earned its second shutout victory of the season in its first three matches of the year on Sunday afternoon as the Crusaders blanked Air Force 1-0 at USAF, Colo. to complete a two-match Colorado road trip.
Jackie Kondratko (Granger, Ind./Penn H.S.) scored for the second time this season, the only Crusader to find the back of the net thus far, for the match’s deciding goal. The junior headed home the goal at 60:11 in the second half after Laura Murphy (Aurora, Ill./Waubonsie Valley H.S.) took a corner kick that was punched out by Falcon goalkeeper Ashlee Curtis.
Curtis had to make four saves before intermission to keep the match scoreless at halftime, while Valpo keeper Mele Cabral (Boulder, Colo./Fairview H.S.) made three of her four saves in the second half to preserve the shutout victory.
Air Force (0-3) outshot Valpo 15-9 for the match, including an 8-3 advantage in the second half, but could not find the back of the goal. The Falcons also held a 7-4 edge in corner kick opportunities.
Valparaiso (2-1) will return home on Friday afternoon for a 4 p.m. match against IUPUI.
Match Notes: Kondratko’s match-winner not only is her second of the season but also the second of her career … she previously had the match-winner against Ball State on Aug. 22 … all three of Valpo’s matches have been decided by 1-0 scores … Mikki Nuccio (Ortonville, Mich./Brandon H.S.) made her collegiate debut … Cabral now has four career shutouts, moving her into sole possession of fourth on Valpo’s career list … her two shutouts this season already move her into a tie for seventh on the Crusader single season chart … this was the first meeting ever between Valpo and Air Force … the Crusaders had never faced a service academy prior to Sunday.