Valparaiso, led by two goals off the foot of J.J. Eschenburg (Edgewood, N.M./Moriarty H.S.), put together their best offensive performance in more than seven seasons, defeating Cleveland State 5-2 Sunday afternoon in Cleveland, Ohio.
The Crusaders put up five goals in a single match for the first time since late in the 1998 season, when they scored five in back-to-back games.
Cleveland State led off the scoring in the 11th minute. Nenad Stojkovic took a cross from Roshard Gilbert, side-stepped a defender and found the back of the net to put the Vikings on top.
Clifton Brown (Chillicothe, Ohio/Unioto H.S.) knotted up the match in the 23rd minute with his third goal of the season, beating Viking keeper Chris Black from the right corner of the box. The match remained tied at one going into the half.
Valparaiso stepped up the offensive intensity in the second half, blasting fourteen shots, four of which found the back of the net. Jon Brighton (Warner Robins, Ga./Houston County H.S.) kicked off the scoring with his fourth tally of the season. Brighton took a long pass down the middle from D.J. Catrow (Springfield, Ohio/Catholic Central H.S./Ohio State) and beat Black in the 52nd minute, putting the Crusaders ahead for good.
Eschenburg scored the first of his goals in the 65th minute, taking a cross from Catrow and putting it in the back of the net to give Valpo a two-goal lead. 13 minutes later, Eschenburg put his head on a throw-in from Nate Hyde (South Bend, Ind./Clay H.S.) and redirected it into the goal for his second of the game and third of the season.
Kim Kroken added a goal for Cleveland State (0-14-1) in the 83rd minute to cut the Valpo lead to 4-2, but Yukki Guzman (Seoul, Korea/Seoul Foreign H.S.) scored the first goal of his career in the 86th minute off a pass from Hyde to close out the scoring.
Jeff Oleck (Indianapolis, Ind./Cathedral H.S.) made four saves in net for the Brown and Gold to record his fourth victory of the season. Black made two saves for the Vikings in the losing effort.
Valparaiso (5-8-1, 2-2-1 Mid-Con) closes out Mid-Continent Conference play Friday evening, traveling to IUPUI to take on the Jaguars. First kick is slated for 7 p.m., and the entire match can be heard live on www.sportsjuice.com.