Valparaiso played a tight game Friday with DePaul in Chicago, Ill., but the Blue Demons found the back of the net with a goal in the 61st minute to down the Crusaders, 1-0.
“We played a good game today,” said Crusader head coach Mike Avery. “It was a tight battle that could have gone either way. We just have to figure out ways to get on the other side of these tough games.”
Valpo was the team pressing the pace early on, as the Crusaders put three shots in frame within the game’s first 25 minutes. Yuuki Guzmán (Tokyo, Japan/Seoul [Korea] Foreign), Andrew Stewart (Buffalo Grove, Ill./Stevenson) and Matt Wilkowske (Oklahoma City, Okla./Putnam City) each had scoring opportunities in the early portion of the game, but Blue Demon netminder Brian Visser turned away all three shots.
Both teams fired four shots in a defensive first half. The Crusaders put three of their shots on goal, while DePaul only put one on frame as the game went into halftime scoreless.
Valpo and DePaul both had scoring chances early on in the second half, but neither could push a ball across the goal line until the Blue Demons broke through in the 61st minute. Steffen Vroom took a corner for DePaul that Julian Chille touched over to Peter Sterbenz, who headed it in for the goal that turned out to be the match-winner.
DePaul, which entered the day undefeated at 3-0-0, held a slight advantage in shots taken at 10-6. Both teams fired three shots on goal, while the Blue Demons took six corners to Valpo’s five in the closely contested game.
“Our guys battled well today,” said Avery. “DePaul is a tough place to play because of the artificial surface and the surroundings. It’s always a challenge for young teams to figure out ways to get good results on the road. Sunday’s game is very important, as it’s our first chance to make a mark on the Horizon League.”
Valparaiso (1-4-0) will become the first Crusader team to take on a Horizon League foe in loop play when it travels up to Toyota Park in Bridgeview, Ill. on Sunday afternoon to face off against Loyola. Game time is 3:30 p.m., and if you are unable to make it to the game, you can catch all the action live on WVUR, 95.1 FM, or online at www.valpo.edu/athletics.