Valparaiso University men’s soccer junior midfielder Isaiah Madrid (Albuquerque, N.M./Eldorado [FGCU]) netted himself a brace on Friday night at Western Illinois, his first career goals as a Crusader and the latter of which proved to be the golden goal in a 3-2 Valpo victory in double overtime.
“It was a very difficult game for both teams, as the heat and humidity pushed the heat index to close to 100 degrees at kickoff,” said Crusader head coach Mike Avery. “I give WIU a ton of credit because I thought their effort and energy were tremendous despite the heat.”
It would take the Crusaders just 11 minutes on a hot and humid evening to crack the scoreboard in Macomb. Senior Jacob Gandarilla (Albuquerque, N.M./Shattuck-St. Mary’s (Minn.) [SMU]) fed Madrid with a pass, and the latter was able to beat the defense and WIU goalkeeper Sam Copp to give Valpo a 1-0 lead. The advantage would last less than 12 minutes, however, as a Crusader own goal leveled the score at 1-1.
“We talked to the boys about the game being as much about our concentration and mental toughness as it would be about our soccer,” said Avery. “We opened the game well, scored a nice goal, and then once we thought we were in control, had a mental lapse and let them back in the game when we scored the own goal.”
Valpo again would claim the lead in the second half, finding the back of the net in the 60th minute as senior Jordan Aidoud (Lyon, France/CEFAM) scored off a direct free kick just outside the 18-yard box. But again the Leathernecks responded, this time inside of two minutes, as Diego Lopez beat the Crusader defense and took a shot which deflected off a defender and in to make it 2-2.
The game remained 2-2 into extra time, and while the Crusaders had a pair of shots late in the first extra session, the match hit the 100 minute mark still all knotted up. But it would take Valpo less than two minutes into the second overtime period to finish out the win, as in the 102nd minute, junior Matthew Gweh (Apple Valley, Minn./Eastview [High Point]) had a shot blocked, but corralled the rebound. Gweh then laid the ball off to Madrid in the box, who beat the keeper for the golden goal and to give Valpo its first win of the year.
“It was the same story in the second half - we score a nice goal, and within minutes gift them a tying goal,” said Avery. “So despite the win, we are a bit frustrated. Our group has a ton of ability, but we are still finding our backbone. Grinding out a win will allow them to maybe learn some of these lessons while moving our record forward. We lost leadership from last year's big senior class, and it shows up here now still only in flashes. We are waiting for our identity to emerge. Experiences like this help. It's in there, and once we find it, this team will start to run.”
Valpo held a 14-10 advantage in shot attempts over Western Illinois (0-3-0) on Friday evening and put five shots on goal to the Leathernecks’ three. Copp made two saves for WIU, while junior Nico Campbell (Kingston, Jamaica/St. George’s College) made one save in the win for the Crusaders.
Valparaiso (1-2-0) opens the home slate on Monday evening as the Crusaders host Loyola at 7 p.m. at Brown Field. The match can be seen live on ESPN3.com, with links for the live video and live stats available at ValpoAthletics.com.