The Valparaiso University men’s soccer team had its sights firmly set on a second-straight two-goal comeback, but the Crusaders fell 2-1 to Fort Wayne in Monday’s home opener despite dominating possession in the second half.
How It Happened
- In the fifth minute, the Mastodons (2-4-3) got on the board on an unusual goal as Oscar Uyamadu flicked a header on a bouncing ball over the keeper.
- After a Valpo deflection, Chris Baranowski riffled one in the lower left of the net in the 51st minute, doubling Fort Wayne’s edge to 2-0.
- In the 60th minute, sophomore Adan Garcia (Dallas, Texas / Episcopal School of Dallas) took a shot that was saved by goalkeeper Will Hathaway, but redshirt freshman Michael Cushing (Orange, Calif. / Villa Park) was there for the rebound and goal to slice the deficit in half.
- The Crusaders (3-3-1) created a flurry of opportunities down the stretch, but Fort Wayne goalkeeper Will Hathaway finished with seven total saves to help the Mastodons hold on for the victory.
Inside the Match
- Cushing’s goal was the first of his Crusader career. The redshirt freshman scored in his first career appearance at Brown Field.
- Garcia tallied his second assist and boosted his season total to four points.
- The Crusaders outshot the Mastodons 23-5 and held an 8-2 edge in shots on goal.
Thoughts from Head Coach Mike Avery
“Congratulations to Fort Wayne on the victory. It isn’t easy to win on the road, and they found a way to accomplish that, so well done to them.”
“From our perspective, we threw out a little bit of a makeshift lineup and got caught flat. That is not an excuse, as every guy on the roster has to be ready to play when called. That’s two games in a row where our energy level at the end of the game was significantly different than at the beginning, so we need to take a hard look at that part of our preparation. I do think a few days off solves a lot of problems, as does getting back to a regular lineup, but we also need to use these out of conference opportunities to prepare for league games.”
“On the positive side, we generated plenty of chances to argue we deserved a better result out of the game, and the guys fought hard right to the last whistle. At the end of the day, though, we have to be more decisive in front of goal – ours and theirs. This will help us shape our training sessions and ultimately help us grow before we play Saturday afternoon against Central Arkansas.”
The Crusaders will return to Missouri Valley Conference play on Saturday by hosting Central Arkansas at 1 p.m. at Brown Field. The program will continue its longtime partnership with TOCO, They Often Cry Outreach, and host its annual benefit match. For those who can’t make it to Brown Field, links to live audio and stats will be available on ValpoAthletics.com.