Valparaiso earned its second tie of the Horizon League slate Friday evening at Milwaukee, coming from behind to force a 1-1 (2ot) draw against the Panthers.
“I’m proud of our guys, as they put in a tremendous effort and showed a lot of courage to get a point on the road against a good Milwaukee team,” said Crusader head coach Mike Avery. “We weren’t fooled by their record coming in, as we knew they had played a strong non-conference schedule. We responded well after they came out fighting and scored early, and I’m really happy with the fact we were able to get a point on the road in League play.”
Paul Leitelt (Munster, Ind./Munster) had a couple early scoring chances saved by Panther keeper Ryan Germann, but it would be Milwaukee which found the scoreboard first. Zeke Dombrowski put back-to-back shots on net that Ryan Schwarz (Rockford, Ill./Boylan Catholic) was able to stop, but the third chance was the charm, as Robert Refai cleaned up the rebound, finding the back of the net in the 15th minute for the game’s first goal. The rest of the first half was scoreless, thanks in large part to the goalkeeping of Schwarz, who made five saves in the opening 45 minutes.
Neither team was able to get a shot on goal in the second half until the 78th minute. Steve Shively (Indianapolis, Ind./North Central) took a failed clearance attempt by Milwaukee and fired a shot from 18 yards out that beat Germann to knot the game up at one apiece. For Shively, it was his third goal of the season, all three of which have tied or won a game for the Crusaders.
Schwarz made a stop in the 85th minute to help send the game to extra time. Milwaukee attempted four shots in the 20 minutes of overtime play, three of which were on goal and all of which Schwarz was able to stop. The sophomore ended the game with nine saves over the 110 minutes of action.
“Ryan was fantastic tonight in goal for us,” said Avery. “He kept us in the game on multiple occasions by making great stops on point-blank Milwaukee chances.”
The Panthers out-shot the Crusaders on the match, 24-14, and put 11 shots on frame to Valpo’s four. Milwaukee (0-8-1, 0-0-1 Horizon) also attempted seven corner kicks versus three for the Crusaders.
Valparaiso (2-6-2, 0-2-2 Horizon) concludes its first swing of Horizon League play on Wednesday, as the Crusaders travel to Detroit to take on the Titans. Kickoff is set for 3 p.m. CDT.