The Valparaiso men’s soccer team got its first run of action against an opposing squad Saturday evening in the first event under the lights at Brown Field, falling to Northern Illinois 2-1 in exhibition action. 23 Crusaders in all saw action in the preseason game, which consisted of 100 minutes broken into 40, 30 and 30 minute periods.
Northern Illinois started the scoring early on, finding the back of the net in the seventh minute as Juan Hoyos headed home a pass from Mike Mascitti. The Crusaders equalized late in the first stanza, as Stefan Antonijevic (Buffalo Grove, Ill./Stevenson [College of Lake County/Marquette]) was taken down in the box and Zack Stivers (Brownsburg, Ind./Brownsburg) capitalized on the ensuing penalty kick. The Huskies got the deciding tally early in the second period, when Hoyos put away a rebound from close range.
The Crusaders had a number of other quality scoring chances, finishing the contest even with the Huskies in shot attempts at 12 apiece. One of the best attempts came in the 11th minute, when Brendan Roth (Elkhart, Ind./Memorial) had a shot saved, followed by a rebound attempt from Adrian Ortiz (Berwyn, Ill./Morton West) that was blocked by an NIU defender. Valpo also pushed forward late and got the ball inside the box in the final minute of action, but it ended up being cleared by the Huskies.
Valparaiso ran out a number of different lineups and looks over the 100 minute exhibition, as 23 Crusaders got a run in. Reigning Horizon League Goalkeeper of the Year Ryan Schwarz (Rockford, Ill./Boylan Catholic) and Kyle Zobeck (Coralville, Iowa/Iowa City West), who redshirted last season, split time in net for Valpo Saturday. Northern Illinois, which was playing its second exhibition contest, also had 23 players take to the pitch, while three netminders played a period apiece for the Huskies.
Valparaiso concludes its preseason slate with a scrimmage against its reserve side at Brown Field next Saturday, Aug. 28, at 7 p.m. Admission to the contest is free.