The Valparaiso men’s soccer team dueled to a scoreless game with Big Ten foe Michigan for over 88 minutes on Saturday afternoon in Ann Arbor, Mich., but an 89th minute goal by the host Wolverines sent the Crusaders to a 1-0 defeat. The loss snapped Valpo’s six-match unbeaten streak.
“You have to give a lot of credit to Michigan – they put us under a tremendous amount of pressure in the second half. It ultimately wore us down, and they eventually got the goal just before the 90 minute mark,” said Avery. “The first half was the complete opposite - we had them under pressure and were playing very well. For whatever reason, be it fatigue or Michigan’s pressure, as good as we were in the first half, we weren't in the second half. From that standpoint, we kind of got what we deserved today – the game's 90 minutes long, and we didn't play 90 minutes the way we’re capable of playing.”
Valpo had the better of play in the opening 45 minutes, out-shooting the Wolverines 7-4 and forcing Michigan goalkeeper Adam Grinwis to make a pair of saves. The Crusaders also had a shot go off the post in the 14th minute as well.
Michigan turned the tables in the second half and controlled the game, holding an 8-2 shot advantage over the final 45 minutes. Only one of the Wolverines’ first seven efforts was on goal, however, a shot which was stopped by Crusader fifth-year netminder Kyle Zobeck (Coralville, Iowa/Iowa City West). But in the 89th minute, Michigan’s Tyler Arnone fed Fabio Pereira, whose shot from 20 yards out found the upper-right corner of the net for the deciding goal.
Michigan (6-8-1) ended the contest with a 12-9 edge in shot attempts and also attempted five corner kicks to the Crusaders’ two. Zobeck stopped two shots in the losing effort, while Grinwis closed the match with three saves.
“The good news is that today was like a freebie – a chance to get a good opponent on the road in a game which has no bearing on the postseason,” said Avery. “We can learn from it and get ready for IPFW on Tuesday and ultimately prepare for our last league game at Milwaukee on Saturday.”
Valparaiso (4-7-5) continues non-league play next Tuesday, Oct. 30 as the Crusaders travel to IPFW. Kickoff is slated for 5 p.m. CDT, and live stats will be available through www.valpoathletics.com.