Valparaiso's bid to earn a repeat trip to the Mid-Continent Conference Tournament was thwarted Friday, as the Crusaders dropped a 5-1 decision at Western Illinois.
The Leathernecks kicked off the scoring in the 13th minute, on a goal by Kosuke Kimura. WIU continued to pound the back of the net, as Matt Wieclaw tallied his 10th goal of the year in the 24th minute, and Martin Browne added markers in the 32nd and 37th minutes.
Valpo got on the board just 20 seconds after the Leathernecks' fourth goal, as D.J. Catrow (Springfield, Ohio/Catholic Central [Ohio State) took a feed from Clifton Brown (Chillicothe, Ohio/Unioto) and found the back of the net, beating keeper Stephen Paterson. Catrow's goal was his sixth of the season, best on the team and matching his total from last year. The goal also gave Catrow 41 career points, tying him for eighth on Valpo's all-time list.
The Crusaders took four second-half shots in an attempt to close the gap, but were unsuccessful. Western Illinois added a penalty kick goal for the final margin.
Ryan Schwarz (Rockford, Ill./Boylan Catholic) stopped two shots in the first half for the Crusaders, while Sean McGinnis (Barrington, Ill./Barrington) came in at halftime and made five second-half saves. Paterson made three saves for Western Illinois (12-7-0, 5-1-0).
The loss closes out Valpo's season at 7-10-0, with a 2-4-0 record in Mid-Con play. The seven wins marks the most by a Crusader squad since the 1997 team won eight matches.