The Valparaiso University men’s soccer team went to Macomb, Ill. on Thursday and picked up its sixth road victory of the season, extending its winning streak to three by downing Western Illinois 5-2 behind a hat trick by sophomore Adan Garcia (Dallas, Texas / Episcopal School of Dallas). After a decade-long gap between hat tricks from 2006-2016, Valpo has now had a player accomplish the feat in consecutive seasons.
How It Happened
- Western Illinois scored the first goal of the match in the 10th minute to move ahead 1-0. Angelo Amato tapped it in after Amadeo Carbo played it into the box.
- The Crusaders had a quick response, as Garcia put one in the back of the net in the 15th minute to level the score at one. Junior Akeem Bradford (Kingston, Jamaica / Camperdown [Cincinnati State]) provided the assist as he turned the shot in the right corner past the goalkeeper.
- Garcia did it again in the 27th minute, this time sending one into the upper left corner on a free kick from just outside the box to give Valpo a 2-1 edge.
- Junior Jordan James (Hellshire, Jamaica / Wolmer's Boys School) doubled the Valpo advantage in the 56th minute, when he tapped one past the keeper to make it 3-1. The assist came on a cross by freshman Jonas Engler (Illingen, Germany / Georg Kerschensteiner Scule).
- The Leathernecks got back within a goal in the 73rd minute as Drew Whalen tapped one into the net after Ben Fiddes played the ball from inside the box to pick up the assist.
- Garcia finished off the hat trick in the 87th minute with James earning the assist. James made a move on the keeper, then passed it to Garcia, whose shot found the right corner.
- The Crusaders added a goal in the 88th as Engler scored on an assist from junior Tyler Curylo (Palatine, Ill. / Palatine [Heartland CC]). Curylo sent a through ball to Engler, who shot it into the upper right corner from outside the box.
Inside the Match
- This marks the second consecutive year the Crusaders have had a player score a hat trick. Before Kendan Anderson turned one in a 5-0 win over IUPUI on Oct. 31, 2016, it had been a decade since the last hat trick on Aug. 27, 2006.
- The last time Valpo had multiple hat tricks within a calendar year of one another was 1989, when Brian Thiel had two hat tricks in a five-day span.
- Garcia becomes the ninth player in the history of Valpo men’s soccer with a hat trick.
- Garcia’s hat trick doubled his season total to six goals. He regains the team lead with 15 points and has usurped Rafael Mentzingen (five) for the team lead in goals.
- The last time a Valpo player had two goals before halftime was Oct. 29 of last season – Isaiah Madrid in an eventual 5-0 win over Northern Kentucky.
- The goal by James was his third of the season, making him the third Crusader with three or more goals this year. His assist was his third of the campaign. He now has nine points, which ranks third on the team. It was the fifth goal of James’ collegiate career.
- Engler’s goal was the third of his rookie year, while his assist was his second. His three-point day boosted his season total to five.
- Curylo notched his first Valpo point by registering an assist in just his third match in a Crusader kit. Bradford now has a goal and an assist despite having played in only four matches this season.
- The Crusaders have strung together three straight wins for the first time this year. This marks Valpo’s longest winning streak since rapping off four consecutive triumphs from Sept. 24 to Oct. 3 of last season.
- This is the second consecutive year the Crusaders have nailed down six road victories.
- This was the first match of the season that featured a multiple goal margin. For the first time in program history, each of the first 12 games were decided by one goal or tied. Valpo hadn’t played in a multi-goal game since the 2016 regular season finale against Wright State.
- The Crusaders had three players – James, Engler and Garcia – finish with three points or more.
- Redshirt sophomore goalkeeper Nacho Miras (Ubeda, Spain / Nuestra Semora del Pilar) accumulated four saves. He picked up his sixth win of the year.
Thoughts from Head Coach Mike Avery
“I am very proud of this group. We just played our 10th road game out of 13 total, and this one had a lot of little adjustments even before we kicked off that demanded us to really focus. On top of that, it’s fall break, meaning most of the guys had midterms before we left yesterday. Mentally and physically, we are a little beat up, yet we continue to keep a positive attitude and we continue to give great effort.”
“It was not our best soccer performance, but our quality came out in key moments and we created good chances. We needed to go deep in the bench today, so the win feels even a little extra good as it was a great team effort. We get a little time now to regroup and rest before we turn our full attention to Central Arkansas, and this mini-break comes at the perfect time.”
Valpo doesn’t return to the pitch until Saturday, Oct. 21 at Central Arkansas as the Crusaders look to capture their fourth Missouri Valley Conference win of the season. The final road fixture of the year is slated to kick off at 7 p.m. CT. Links to live video ($$) and stats are available on ValpoAthletics.com.