Led by a two-goal performance from senior Isaiah Madrid (Albuquerque, N.M./Eldorado [FGCU]), the Valparaiso University men’s soccer team opened the 2016 home campaign at Brown Field with a 3-1 victory on Sunday over visiting Western Illinois.
How It Happened
- WIU controlled the early part of the game, firing off three shot attempts in the opening five minutes, but it would be the Crusaders who struck first. Madrid lined up a free kick from straight on, about 25 yards out, and took it direct at goal himself. His effort took a deflection off a WIU defender and easily found the back of the net to give Valpo the advantage.
- The Leathernecks equalized early in the second half. Daniel Collins sent a long through ball in from around midfield, where Jacob Bevan looked to run onto it. Crusader goalkeeper Nico Campbell (Kingston, Jamaica/St. George’s College) came out of the box to try to clear before Bevan got there, but the WIU forward arrived first and chipped around Campbell inside the right post to make it 1-1 in the 51st
- Valpo struck back less than seven minutes later, however, and again it was off the foot of Madrid. Freshman Steffen Pulinx (Genk, Belgium/Onze-Lieve-Vrouwlyceum Genk) sent a cross in from the right that bounced off a WIU player to Madrid at the top-left corner of the box. The senior rifled a shot that crossed the line for his second of the game, putting Valpo ahead 2-1.
- Another free kick provided the Crusaders insurance late in the game. In the 82nd minute, senior Nelson Landaverde (Santa Ana, El Salvador/Springdale (Ark.) H.S. [Neosho County C.C.]) stood over a free kick just outside the top-right corner of the box and sent it inside the near post untouched to cap the scoring.
Inside the Game
- Madrid now has a team-best three goals on the season. Sunday marked the second multi-goal effort of his career, both of which have come in wins over the Leathernecks the last two seasons.
- In his second season as a Crusader, Landaverde tallied his first career goal and first career point. Meanwhile, Pulinx picked up his first career assist for Valpo just three games into his freshman season.
- Campbell needed to make just one save to earn the win in goal for the Crusaders. WIU starting goalkeeper Tim Trilk gave up a goal on the only shot he faced before Tim Hansen entered in the 16th Hansen stopped four shots and took the loss.
- WIU held a 6-3 advantage in shots in the first half, but Valpo out-shot the Leathernecks by a 9-2 margin after intermission. The two sides combined for just three corners, two of which went Valpo’s way.
Thoughts From Head Coach Mike Avery
“The early part of any season is about dealing with 'firsts': your first win, first loss, first goal scored, first goal against, first road game, first home game, and so on. We face these firsts, the good and the bad, and look to grow from them. It wasn't our best performance - and a lot of that has to do with Western Illinois - but it was nice to get our first win and first home game out of the way.”
“Some nice finishes from Isaiah Madrid and Nelson Landaverde will let us sleep a bit better tonight, and we now have a week to train to get ready for another first - our Horizon League opening game against Detroit. Detroit is always a good challenge for us, and we will have to be at our best to get a result here on Saturday.”
The Crusaders (1-1-1) conclude a brief two-match homestand Saturday afternoon at Brown Field as they open Horizon League play versus Detroit. Live stats will be available via ValpoAthletics.com.