The #25 Valparaiso men’s soccer team returned to the pitch Monday night to battle with the Flyers from the University of Dayton. The Crusaders fought back from a late deficit, scoring with just 23 seconds remaining in regulation in an eventual double-overtime draw with the Flyers, 2-2.
The Crusaders got on the scoreboard first, thanks to a blast from 25 yards out from freshman midfielder Ramone Howell (Portmore, Jamaica/Jamaica College) in the 39th minute.
Sophomore goalkeeper Nico Campbell (Kingston, Jamaica/St. George’s College) faced few enemy shots for the first three-quarters of the game as the Crusader played their trademark lockdown defense. Dayton, which entered the game coming off a victory over Ohio State last time out, cracked the scoreboard when Maik Schoonderwoerd headed in a ball off of a Michael Frasca free kick from 20 yards out in the 73rd minute.
Just over 10 minutes later, the Flyers struck again off another set piece. This time Rafael Gamboa sent a corner kick into the box where Lalas Abubakar knocked it home.
“We obviously aren't pleased about conceding two set-piece goals,” said Crusader head coach Mike Avery. “That is very unusual for us, but I do think the attitude to come back and fight all the way to the last minute, and to find the tying goal when it looked like all was lost, these are positives we can build on.”
The Crusaders would not go quietly into the night, which was once warm and comfortable, but had turned windy and cool as the seconds ticked away. The Brown and Gold went on the offensive in the last eight minutes, having two chances off of consecutive corner kicks. As the final minute wound down, junior midfielder Jordan Aidoud (Lyon, France/CEFAM) struck the ball perfectly off of a free kick from 33 yards out and it found the head of senior Nick Suker (Downers Grove, Ill./South) who sent the game to overtime with his second goal of the season. Aidoud notched the assists on both goals for the Crusaders.
“I was proud of our guys tonight,” Avery said. “We are in the midst of a very difficult stretch, had a few key players not dressed for the game tonight, and we still were able to put together a solid performance against a good Dayton team.”
The first overtime period saw a flurry of shots in the first three minutes, as Valpo had two blocked within seconds of each other and Suker had a chance to end to the game, but his shot was stopped by the keeper.
Campbell made the save of the game in the 106th minute, diving to his right to make a spectacular one-handed stab at a header from Schoonderwoerd and keep the game tied.
“Our biggest game of the season now comes very quickly when we travel to UIC on Wednesday,” Avery said. “The schedule hasn't been very forgiving, and there are a lot of reasons why we might not be at our best in that one, but I do think this group has got something special to it. I'm excited to see how we do.”
Valpo (5-1-3, 1-0-0 HL) returns to league action on Wednesday when they travel north to face league foe UIC, who is looking for their first win in league play. Kickoff is set for 7:00 pm CT and live stats will be available through ValpoAthletics.com.
-Valpo Men’s Soccer-