Valparaiso played Evansville to a scoreless tie in the first half of action Sunday in Evansville, Ind., but the Purple Aces exploded for four second-half goals to down the Crusaders, 4-0.
“I’ve got to give credit to Evansville for playing a great second half,” said Crusader head coach Mike Avery. “Our young guys are still learning about the rigors of college soccer. Playing three of our first four games on the road, and spending eight out of the last 14 days traveling to play, wears on you physically. We had no legs today, especially in the second half, and with as many road games as we play this year, we have to figure out ways to compete even when we’re tired.”
The first half saw the Crusaders take four shots to Evansville’s nine. Mario Diaz (Chicago, Ill./Mt. Carmel [South Suburban]) was the only Valpo player to get a shot on frame in the opening 45 minutes, while Ryan Schwarz (Rockford, Ill./Boylan Catholic) turned away three shots by the Purple Aces in the first half to keep the game a scoreless tie.
Ian McAuley put Evansville on the board early in the second half off of a feed from Kieran Purcell. Mike Luttrull took a pass from Dan Gibson in the 73rd minute to give the Purple Aces a 2-0 lead, while Dustin Awe and Stephan Minyono added insurance tallies for Evansville in the latter stages of the second half for the final margin.
Schwarz stopped six shots out of the 10 Evansville (2-2-0) put on goal, while Purple Aces keeper Alec Dufty stopped three shots while playing just under 80 minutes. Diaz ended the game with two shots on goal for Valpo, while Paul Leitelt (Munster, Ind./Munster) also put a shot on frame.
Valparaiso (1-3-0) continues a four-game road trip next weekend with two more contests away from home. The Crusaders will face DePaul in Chicago on Friday afternoon before kicking off the Horizon League slate against Loyola at Toyota Park, home of the MLS’ Chicago Fire, on Sunday afternoon.