Playing a Southeastern Conference opponent for the first time since 1994, Valparaiso went on the road and dropped a 2-0 decision to Vanderbilt on Friday evening in Nashville, Tenn.
The Commodores scored first just under 35 minutes into the match as Dana Schwartz fired a shot from 25 yards out passed Crusader goalkeeper Kristin Manski (Saint Charles, Ill./North H.S.).
Vanderbilt (4-3) took the 1-0 lead into intermission despite outshooting Valpo 7-2 in the opening stanza. Manski made all four of her saves for the match in the opening 45 minutes while Rachel Bachtel made saves on both of the Crusader shots in the first half.
“They gave us a good match tonight,” head coach John Marovich said. “We had a couple of early opportunities we didn’t finish and it came back to hurt us.”
The Crusaders were unable to find the back of the net in the second half either, despite eight corner kick opportunities.
Vanderbilt added an insurance goal just over five minutes into the second half following a foul just outside the penalty box. Molly Kinsella took the free kick and fired a blast into the goal.
Valpo outshot the Commodores 4-3 in the second half, but ended up outshot 10-6 for the match.
“The eight corner kicks were a sign of how well we played in the second half,” Marovich added. We had some good performances tonight from Rachel Hoaglin (Lakeville, Minn./Academy of Holy Angels H.S.) and Mikki Nuccio (Ortonville, Mich./Brandon H.S.).
Valparaiso (4-2-2) will remain in Tennessee on Sunday to face Austin Peay. Kickoff is set for 1 p.m. in Clarksville, Tenn.
Match Notes: This was the first meeting ever between Valpo and Vanderbilt … the only other SEC team Valpo has ever faced was Kentucky back in 1993 and 1994 … Katie Gratzianna (Elmhurst, Ill./York H.S.) made her collegiate debut in the match.