For the second straight match, the Valparaiso University men’s soccer team tallied the first goal despite playing on the road against a quality Big Ten foe. This time, the goal was enough to carry the Crusaders to a noteworthy result, as Valpo went to Ann Arbor and came away with a 1-1 tie against Michigan.
This marked the latest positive outcome in a long line of successes against the Big Ten Conference over the last decade. The goal was scored by junior Jordan James (Hellshire, Jamaica / Wolmer’s Boys School), who is also the only member of this new-look Valpo (0-1-1) squad who started Monday’s match and played in the team’s previous win or draw against a Big Ten side, a victory over No. 7 Michigan State in 2014.
How It Happened
- The James goal started the scoring in the 63rd minute as Jonas Engler (Illingen, Germany / Georg Kerschensteiner Scule) provided the assist on a cross from the right side. After the ball deflected off a defender, James finished by going to the keeper’s left.
- The Wolverines (1-0-1) drew even in the 81st minute, as Jack Hallahan took a low cross inside the six off a slight deflection and scored. Marcello Borges and Lucas Rosendall received credit for assists.
- Neither team permitted a shot on goal for the first 22 minutes of the match. The Crusaders notched the first SOG in the 23rd when a set piece from 22 yards out on the left side was taken quickly by Adan Garcia (Dallas, Texas / Episcopal School of Dallas), but Michigan goalkeeper Andrew Verdi made the save.
- Each team had chances in the early going of the second half, as Verdi picked up a save on a shot by Jake Pesek (St. Louis, Mo. / Chaminade), while Hallahan had a pair of opportunities, one of which necessitated a point-blank save by Valpo goalkeeper Nacho Miras (Ubeda, Spain / Nuestra Semora del Pilar).
- Both keepers made one save in overtime, with Miras’ coming in the final minute.
- Valpo’s first strong chance of the extra time occurred in the 98th minute, when Rafael Mentzingen (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil / Bryan) sent one wide left on a breakaway created by a counter. In the 102nd minute, Pesek notched Valpo’s first SOG of overtime, but Verdi was there for the save on an effort from 12 yards out.
Inside the Match
- The Crusaders have enjoyed three wins and four draws against Big Ten foes since Mike Avery took over the program in 2007.
- James’ goal was his first of the season and the fourth of his Valpo career. He last scored on Sept. 19, 2014 against Western Illinois, when he recorded a brace.
- Engler achieved an assist in only the second match of his collegiate career.
- The shots on goal illustrate the competitiveness of the match, as the Crusaders yielded just six while registering four of their own.
- This marks the first time in program history the Crusaders have come away with a win or draw against a quality Michigan program. The Wolverines had captured the first six meetings in a series that dates back to 1989.
- Miras picked up five saves and now owns 12 over the first two starts of his collegiate career.
Thoughts from Head Coach Mike Avery
“I have two thoughts following the game that are somewhat contradictory, but both hold true. First, it’s disappointing to twice go on the road and hold a lead late into the game only to get tied up before regulation ends. That’s a product of youth and inexperience, and really the only way to fix it is to live it.
“My second thought is that, at the end of the day, we earned a brave point on the road against an immensely talented Michigan team. We can build off this one and this game will help us as the season progresses.”
The Crusaders will take part in University history on Friday night as they compete in Valpo’s first Missouri Valley Conference event since the school became a full-fledged member on July 1. That fixture will take place at Loyola against the Ramblers, who won The Valley’s regular season title and received an NCAA at-large berth a year ago. Links to live stats and video will be available on ValpoAthletics.com.