Valparaiso extended its unbeaten streak to seven straight matches and won for the third consecutive time on Sunday afternoon as the Crusaders got a goal with just 2:35 remaining to defeat South Dakota 2-1 at Eastgate Field.
The Crusaders, 6-0-1 in their last seven outings, continued the best start in school history while improving to 7-1-1 overall.
Laura Romberg (Vernon Hills, Ill./Vernon Hills H.S.) scored her first collegiate goal, which turned out to be the match winner, late in regulation on a rebound after Kendall Brown (Lake Zurich, Ill./Carmel Catholic H.S.) headed a corner kick fromJackie Kondratko (Granger, Ind./Penn H.S.) off of the post.
Valpo controlled play for most of the first half on Sunday afternoon, outshooting the Coyotes 14-2 in the opening 45 minutes. Jennifer Ogren made six of her 10 saves in the first half, but 14:22 into the contest the Crusaders found the scoreboard. Dana McGlone (Littleton, Colo./Heritage H.S.) lofted a corner kick to the far post where Jackie Thomas (Overland Park, Kan./Blue Valley Northwest H.S.) headed the ball past Ogren to put Valpo on top 1-0.
South Dakota (3-6) battled back in the second half, with Sarah Halbach taking advantage of a deflection of a Savanna Lokkesmoe pass and scoring from 15 yards out to tie the match at one.
The Crusaders turned up the pressure during the final 20 minutes of the match, finally scoring in the final three minutes.
“Our kids are resilient,” head coach John Marovich said. “They came and got the goal back that they gave up with a strong final 20 minutes. A win on Sunday after a big victory on Friday counts the same. It doesn’t matter how we do it, as long as we get a ‘W’ I’m happy.”
Valpo finished the mach outshooting the Coyotes 23-6, including a 12-4 advantage on goal. Mele Cabral (Boulder, Colo./Fairview H.S.) made two saves in the victory for Valpo. The Brown and Gold also had an 8-2 advantage in corner kick opportunities.
“We had possession today but couldn’t finish much in the final third,” Marovich added.
Valparaiso will take to the road on Friday afternoon to begin Horizon League play in Indianapolis, Ind. against instate foe Butler. Kickoff is set for 3:30 p.m. CDT.
Match Notes: This was the first meeting ever between Valpo and South Dakota … Brown is now second all-time at Valpo with 185 career shot attempts … Thomas is now alone in 10th place all-time with nine career goals … Romberg’s goal, a match-winner, was the first tally of her collegiate career … Cabral saw a 367:22 streak without a goal come to an end … Valpo’s first half tally was just the second time the Crusaders have scored in the opening 45 minutes this season … Kondratko now has seven points on the season to lead the Crusaders.