Zack Stivers (Brownsburg,
Ind./Brownsburg) scored his team-leading fourth goal of the season in the 64th
minute, bringing the Crusaders back from a one-goal deficit as Valparaiso and
Loyola fought to a 1-1 double overtime draw Sunday afternoon at Brown Field in
Horizon League action.
“I thought we played very
well today and am proud of the effort our guys played with,” said Crusader head
coach Mike Avery. “These league weekends, playing two games in
48 hours, are real tests, and I thought both teams put in a good effort being
on the back end of the weekend. I was proud
of our resolve to come back from the goal down and also the way we pushed the
issue in the latter parts of the game.”
Loyola broke onto the
scoreboard as the game approached the midway point of the first half. Michael Ferguson gained possession deep in
Crusader territory on the right flank and crossed the ball into the center of
the box, where Alex Jones was waiting all alone for a header from five yards
out to make it 1-0 Ramblers in the 18th minute.
Valpo nearly knotted up the
game right before the half, as in the waning seconds, Kelvin Zelee (South Bend,
Ind./John Adams [Indiana]) let a shot go from the right side that ricocheted
off the crossbar and out of play. But
the Crusaders gained a man advantage in the 52nd minute when a
Loyola player was shown the red card and pressed the issue, eventually tallying
the equalizer 12 minutes later. Clayton Lyons (Louisville, Ky./Trinity)
fed Stivers on the left about ten yards out from the net, and the junior
finished with ease into the left side of the goal.
While neither team would hit
the scoreboard again, both squads found themselves with opportunities in the
latter part of the second half and in the overtime sessions. The most promising chance for either side
came in the 84th minute, when Loyola’s Ferguson found himself racing
in one-on-one with Crusader netminder Ryan
Schwarz (Rockford, Ill./Boylan Catholic).
But Schwarz came out of his net to cut down the angle and sprawled out
to knock Ferguson’s
shot attempt straight up in the air and prevent the Ramblers from taking a late
Valpo held a slight 14-13
advantage in shot attempts over Loyola (3-2-2, 0-1-1 Horizon), but the Ramblers
put six shots on frame to the Crusaders’ three.
Schwarz stopped five shots to earn the draw for Valpo, while Loyola
goalkeeper Peter McKeown made two saves.
“At the end of the day, four points
in the first weekend is a pretty good result for us,” said Avery. “Schwarz again came up very, very big in the
latter stages of game and has just been terrific for us all year long. Now we are excited to travel on Wednesday,
going up to East Lansing to take on
State. Experiences against top-25 teams are really
good for us as we continue to keep growing as a program.”
Valparaiso (4-3-1, 1-0-1 Horizon) travels to take on #21 Michigan State on Wednesday, marking the third
matchup with a top-25 foe this season.
The Crusaders and Spartans will kick off from East
Lansing at 3 p.m. CDT, and all the action can be heard live on
WVUR, 95.1 FM, Valparaiso
and online at www.valpoathletics.com,
which will also have a link for live stats.