The Valparaiso men’s soccer team suffered a 1-0 defeat in Horizon League play Saturday evening, falling at UIC on a 67th minute goal.
“Congratulations to UIC on figuring out a way to get a result tonight,” said Crusader head coach Mike Avery. “They’re a very good team and are on a good run right now – really starting to round into form. We put them under a lot of pressure tonight, and they handled that and found a way to score a goal – we wish them luck as they move forward.”
Both sides got six shot attempts off in the first 45 minutes, with Valpo putting two of its tries on frame. Both of the Crusaders’ shots on goal were saved by UIC goalkeeper Goran Ikic, however, while Valpo goalkeeper Kyle Zobeck (Coralville, Iowa/Iowa City West) stopped the only shot on frame by the Flames in the first half as the game went into the break scoreless.
The Flames broke the seal on the scoreboard midway through the second stanza, as a cross from the left side by Ivan Stanisavljevic was finished at the near post by Isai Lemus for the match-winner. Valpo pushed forward after the UIC tally, hitting a crossbar in the 75th minute and putting two shots on goal in the final 10 minutes, but could not find the equalizer.
“For us, it’s another frustrating game, in that we created a lot of chances,” said Avery. “We hit a crossbar and had another ball cleared off the line, and it just feels like we’ve set a record this season for missed chances off the woodwork or cleared off the line. We just have to be more clinical in our finishing, and hopefully that’s to come, because if it does, this team still has the potential to be really good. I don’t think our record is anywhere near an indicator of how good our team is. I still like where our guys are in terms of handling the adversity we’re facing right now – they’re still playing hard, still looking out for one another, and still believe they have a chance to do something special in this season.”
Valpo ended the night with a 12-9 advantage in shots over the Flames, putting four on frame to UIC’s two. Ikic made four saves for the Flames, while Zobeck ended the night with one stop. UIC (4-4-2, 1-0-1 Horizon) held a 8-2 advantage in corner kicks.
Valparaiso (1-6-2, 0-1-1 Horizon) returns to Brown Field on Homecoming Saturday, Oct. 6 as the Crusaders cap a full day of action on campus with a 7 p.m. kickoff against Green Bay. The game will be broadcast live on WVUR (95.1 FM), and the live audio, as well as live stats, will be available at www.valpoathletics.com.