Taking on a side tied atop the Big Ten standings for the second straight game, Valparaiso kept #16/17 Ohio State off the scoreboard into extra time Sunday afternoon, but the Buckeyes got a golden goal from Konrad Warcyzha in the 97th minute for the 1-0 overtime victory in Columbus, Ohio.
“First off I want to congratulate Ohio State,” said Crusader head coach Mike Avery. “They're a highly-ranked team for good reason and a very quality side. Even though we felt like we gave them a very good game, they did enough over the course of the game to earn a good result. As disappointing as it is for us to lose another game in overtime, I do feel very good about how well we played against a good side.”
Both sides had numerous scoring opportunities throughout regulation, as the Buckeyes had 11 shot attempts in each half, while Valpo tallied five first-half shots and seven chances in the second 45 minutes. Kyle Zobeck (Coralville, Iowa/Iowa City West) earned the start in goal Sunday for the Crusaders and stopped eight shots, while Valpo also had a defender clear a shot off the back line. Matt Lampson made four saves in goal for Ohio State (7-4-2).
“Over the course of the game, I thought we defended very well,” said Avery. “We handled a lot of corner kicks and set pieces that were thrown at us and kept Ohio State outside our penalty area. Most of the shots Kyle had to deal with were from distance and were pretty much of the routine variety. That was kind of our plan coming in, to absorb a little pressure and look to create chances on the counter. We created a lot of good chances going forward. While we know you don't get credit for near-misses, we're excited to be generating chances against quality sides, which can only help us as we approach the final stretch of league play.”
The only shot attempt for either side in overtime would result in the game's lone tally. A pair of Crusader defenders miscommunicated on a clearance attempt, allowing the Buckeyes' Parnell Hegngi to gain possession deep in his offensive zone. Hegngi fed Warzycha, who put the ball inside the near post from six yards out for the golden goal to give the Buckeyes the win.
“It was unfortunate for us that probably the most routine defensive play of the day created the only goal,” said Avery. “Just a simple miscommunication between two players in their first year as starters, they've been fantastic for us all year long and this is part of them going through ups and downs. They're still in a growing process as players, and I know they'll come back better players and we'll be a better team with what they're learning now.”
Valparaiso (6-6-2) closes out a three-match stretch of nonleague opponents with a return to Brown Field on Wednesday as the Crusaders host Western Michigan. Kickoff against the Broncos is set for 7 p.m., with live audio, video and stats links available at www.valpoathletics.com. The audio webcast will also be available locally on WVUR, 95.1 FM.