Valparaiso concluded its two-match swing through the state of California Sunday afternoon, dropping a 1-0 decision at Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo, Calif.
“While we’re disappointed in that we lost another close game today, I do think that we have far more positive s to take out of this weekend than negatives,” said Crusader head coach Mike Avery. “Our team battled and was very tough in standing up to two challenging environments this weekend.”
The Crusaders out-shot the Mustangs for the match by a 12-11 margin and both sides put three shots on goal, but the decisive tally came late in the first half. In the 33rd minute, George Malki took a shot which was blocked by a Valpo defender, but the rebound was headed into the back of the net by Mackenzie Pridham for the game’s lone goal.
Valpo pushed forward in the second half looking for the equalizer, picking up eight of its shot attempts in the final 45 minutes, four of which came in the final 12 minutes. The Crusaders actually did put the ball over the goal line on one occasion following a free kick, but the goal was called back due to an offside call. Cal Poly goalkeeper Chase Hauser also made a pair of saves within the final 10 minutes.
Crusader goalkeeper Kyle Zobeck (Coralville, Iowa/Iowa City West) made two saves in the losing effort, while Hauser stopped three shots in all for Cal Poly. Valpo earned five corner kicks to the Mustangs’ four and was called for just 11 fouls to Cal Poly’s 18.
“Cal Poly is a very good team, and we were able to create plenty of good chances today,” said Avery. “We probably had the better over the course of today’s game, had one goal called back and had a couple other close calls. I don’t think we have a lot to worry about as a team - I think we’re going to grow through this weekend. This is one of the toughest trips you can take in the country, and I thought our guys handled it very well. These games will definitely help us be ready for Horizon League play.”
Valparaiso (1-3-1) looks to get back on the winning track as it returns home to Brown Field on Friday evening to take on Western Michigan. The game will be video streamed live on the Horizon League Network, with a live audio broadcast on WVUR, 95.1 FM. Links for the live video and audio, as well as live stats, will be available at www.valpoathletics.com.