The Valparaiso University men’s soccer team continued its unbeaten streak against ranked opponents, earning a 1-1 draw on the road in Albuquerque N.M, against Soccer America #23 New Mexico on Wednesday night. The Crusaders are now 2-0-1 in their last three matches versus ranked opponents.
“I’m proud of the boys tonight,” said Crusader head coach Mike Avery. “After the first minute, we played very well and probably deserved even more out of the game. New Mexico is a great team and it was a good experience for our team to take this trip and compete in this environment.”
After starting the game with a 45-minute delay due to a stadium lighting issue, Valpo and New Mexico decided to begin play with just half of the field lights working, with ambient lighting from the adjacent football field providing additional wattage. Following the delay, the Lobos struck nearly immediately, as Chris Wehan took a feed from Sam Gleadle and knocked it home just 35 seconds into the match.
The Crusaders would control most of the match offensively, however, finishing the evening with 30 shot attempts to the Lobos’ 11 and putting seven on frame to just three for New Mexico. Valpo would finally take advantage inside of five minutes to play, as junior Matthew Gweh (Apple Valley, Minn./Eastview [High Point]) answered the call for the Crusaders in the 86th minute with a header off a pass from junior Isaiah Madrid (Albuquerque, N.M./Eldorado [Florida Gulf Coast]) to force the game into extra time. Valpo would own all seven shot attempts in extra time, but couldn’t find the golden goal, but regardless, the Crusaders remained unbeaten in their last three matches versus ranked opposition.
Valpo junior Nico Campbell (Kingston, Jamaica/St. George’s College) finished the night with two saves, including a diving save to keep the Crusaders within one when they faced a 1-0 deficit, while New Mexico (6-4-2) goalkeeper Jason Beaulieu stopped five shots and had a defender clear a ball of the line as well. With the draw, Valpo has now earned results in nine of its last ten matches.
“The challenge now is to carry some momentum into Saturday’s match at NKU,” said Avery. “There is a lot of confidence we can take from this game and a lot of lessons we can learn.”
Next up for Valparaiso (6-3-3) will be a road game at Horizon League newcomer on Saturday afternoon at 3 p.m. CT. The match can be seen live on ESPN3.com, with live stats available via ValpoAthletics.com.