Fresh off cracking the NSCAA Great Lakes Region rankings for the first time this season, the Valparaiso University men’s soccer completed a favorable day with a 2-1 road win over Western Michigan in a battle of two regionally-ranked sides. The Crusaders, ranked 10th in the Great Lakes Region, rallied from a goal down to defeat the eighth-ranked Broncos on Tuesday afternoon in Kalamazoo, Mich.
How It Happened
- Kendan Anderson (Portmore, Jamaica / St. George’s College [South Florida / ASA College]) converted a one-on-one with Western Michigan goalkeeper Drew Shepherd in the 82nd minute to give the Crusaders their first lead of the match. Isaiah Madrid (Albuquerque, N.M. / Eldorado [Florida Gulf Coast]) earned the assist by threading the ball through the defense to set the stage for Anderson, who fired a hard, low shot past Shepherd.
- The Crusaders took full advantage of their first corner kick of the match in the 60th minute as Suleiman Thomas (Chicago, Ill. / Lake Forest Academy) sent the corner to the far post and Omar Lawrence (Kingston, Jamaica / Excelsior) headed it in. Shepherd tried to come out for the ball, but there was heavy traffic near the goal.
- The Broncos scored their goal in the 50th minute when Edu Jimenez sent a pass toward the far six-yard area off a set piece from 40 yards out, and Western Michigan’s Brandon Bye jumped above a defender and headed it inside the near post.
- The goal was the only shot on goal of the match for the Broncos. Each team registered seven total shots, and the Crusaders placed three on goal.
Inside the Match
- Anderson now has three goals in five matches this season for Valpo. He ranks second on the team behind only Isaiah Madrid in both goals and points (8).
- Anderson has scored the match-winning goal in three of the five games he’s played in a Valpo uniform.
- Thomas’s assist was the second of his career and his first since Nov. 1, 2014, a match at Green Bay during his sophomore season.
- The victory allowed the Crusaders to extend their unbeaten streak to six. They need to go two more matches without a loss to equal the longest unbeaten streak in program history, which came last season.
Thoughts from Head Coach Mike Avery
“It was a very difficult game for a lot of reasons. Both teams were careful with normal lineups as everyone starts to deal with card accumulation worries and a lot of mileage on the legs and minds. Afternoon midweek games out of conference also have a slightly different energy than a Saturday night league battle. Still, WMU is one of the best teams on our schedule and to come from behind and beat them on the road is a great accomplishment.
We are excited now to get up to Green Bay for Saturday's game. We are in a good spot in the league race, but our first focus is to finish top six and qualify for the playoffs. A win Saturday would go a long way toward that first goal.”
The Crusaders (7-2-3, 3-0-2) continue a stretch of four straight matches away from Brown Field when they visit Green Bay on Saturday at 7 p.m. CT. The Crusaders enter the conference match in first place in the Horizon League. A link to live stats will be available on ValpoAthletics.com.