Oscar Lomeli’s (Jalisco, Mexico/ [Bethel (Ind.)] early goal helped give Valparaiso a 1-0 lead at the half Friday in Indianapolis, Ind., but IUPUI scored three times in the second half to take a 3-1 decision over the Crusaders.
“Playing on the road is always tough,” said Crusader head coach Mike Avery. “It was an interesting game. I have to give full credit to IUPUI for taking advantage of the man up situation, but I am proud of our guys for battling through a tough situation.”
Lomeli found the back of the net less than ten minutes into the game for Valpo’s first first-half tally of the season. IUPUI netminder David Barszczowski turned the ball over in his defensive end and Lomeli took advantage, chipping in a shot from 22 yards out to put the Crusaders ahead. Valpo maintained the one-goal lead into the half, as Kyle Zobeck (Coralville, Iowa/Iowa City West) made three first-half saves in goal for the Crusaders. But the Crusaders suffered a critical blow late in the half, as a red card in the 40th minute put Valpo down a man for the rest of the match.
The Jaguars took advantage of their man advantage in the 61st minute, as Javier Portillo converted a free kick from over 30 yards out, putting the ball just inside the left post to knot up the match at one. Matt Guy put IUPUI ahead in the 84th minute off of an assist from Portillo, putting the ball inside the right post from eight yards, and the Jaguars added an insurance tally with all 11 Crusaders pushed up into the offensive end in the final minute.
“In a funny way, some of our best moments came in the second half when we were at a numerical disadvantage,” said Avery. “We had several good chances to score, and actually may have when Nathan Fitzgerald's (Wichita Falls, Texas/S.H. Rider) shot hit the crossbar in the 64th minute and bounced straight down. That type of bang-bang play can often make the difference in a close game like this one.”
The two teams finished the match with 14 shots apiece. IUPUI (1-2-0) placed seven on net, four of which were stopped by Zobeck, while Barszczowski made three saves in the win. The Jaguars also held a slight 5-4 edge in corner kicks.
“At the end of the day we were undone with a few mental errors that cost you, especially when you are away from home,” said Avery. “Our team is still growing, and tonight is just the growing pains. There are many positives for us to take out of this game, and we very quickly have to turn our focus now on a very good Western Illinois team on Sunday.”
Valparaiso (2-1-0) returns to the pitch Sunday afternoon at Eastgate Field for Crusader Student Appreciation Day as they host Western Illinois at 1 p.m. All Valpo students are invited out to enjoy free food, t-shirts and fun. The game will be carried live on WVUR, 95.1 FM, Valparaiso, and live stats will be available online at www.valpoathletics.com.