The Valparaiso University men’s soccer team returned to the win column on Tuesday night in Fort Wayne, besting the Mastodons 2-0. The Crusaders have only dropped three matches all season, and each time have responded with a win or draw in their following fixture.
How It Happened
- The Crusaders got on the board in the 22nd minute, when Ramone Howell (Portmore, Jamaica / Jamaica College) scored off a corner kick by Nelson Landaverde (Santa Ana, El Salvador / Springdale (Ark.) HS [Neosho County CC]).
- Freshman Steffen Pulinx (Genk, Belgium / Onze-Lieve-Vrouwlyceum Genk) doubled the lead in the 66th minute, converted from 18 yards out on an assist by junior Jacob Keck (Topeka, Kan. / Hayden Catholic).
- The Crusaders outshot the Mastodons 19-18, placing seven shots on goal to Fort Wayne’s six.
- Nico Campbell (Kingston, Jamaica / St. George’s College) corralled six saves to notch the clean sheet.
Inside the Match
- Howell now has three goals this season, moving into a tie for second on the team with Kendan Anderson. Howell joins Anderson and Isaiah Madrid as the three Crusaders with at least three goals this season.
- Landaverde’s assist was the first of his Valpo career. He now has five points this season, one of six Crusaders with five points or more.
- Pulinx’s goal was the first of his collegiate career. In fact, it was the first shot he’s placed on goal in a Valpo uniform. Pulinx, who became the ninth Valpo player to score this season, now has three points after tallying an assist against Western Illinois on Sept. 4.
- Keck’s assist was the first of his Valpo career. He joins a group of 13 Crusaders that have notched at least one point this season.
- The six saves marked Campbell’s highest total of the season. The shutout was the 19th of his career, four away from matching the program record.
Thoughts from Head Coach Mike Avery
“I'm really happy for the guys tonight because they were able to put Saturday's loss behind them and quickly respond with a very good performance against a talented Fort Wayne team. It was another night where we mixed and matched with the lineup a bit to spread minutes around, and we had several guys step in and step up.
My only complaint was that we didn't put the game away earlier because we had several really good chances to do that, but as preparation for the final stretch of games it was a good exercise to deal with the end of game pressure that Fort Wayne dealt us. Fort Wayne has been a high flying group that scores a lot of goals, so to shut them out was a confidence booster to Nico and the rest of the defense.
Our last road trip of the season now takes us Saturday into Chicago and we are looking forward to facing UIC in an important league match. Fall break from classes this week gives us a little chance to simultaneously rest the minds and prepare for the game, and we aim to be at our best Saturday.”
The Crusaders (8-3-3) finish a stretch of four straight fixtures away from Brown Field on Saturday night at 7 p.m. at UIC. A link to live stats will be available on ValpoAthletics.com.