The Valparaiso University men’s soccer season is off to a dramatic and victorious start after Friday’s opener at Brown Field. The Crusaders had visiting IUPUI on its heels for the bulk of the match, eventually breaking through in the 104th minute as a golden goal by Michael Marchionna (Naperville, Ill. / Naperville Central) provided Valpo with a 1-0 victory.
How It Happened
- The Crusaders (1-0-0) had all eight shots in the opening half with the Valpo attack featuring a heavy dose of senior Rafael Mentzingen (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil / Bryan). The Jaguars (0-1-0) displayed a strong showing on defense, and goalkeeper Quinn McCallion registered a pair of saves prior to the break.
- Valpo controlled the majority of the possession throughout the second half, and had several quality chances to win it in regulation, including perhaps the best opportunity of the evening in the 88th minute, when Mentzingen’s effort from the top of the box veered just wide of the outside post.
- Marchionna had a strong chance early in the second overtime period on a through ball from Lucca Lacerda (Passos, Brazil / Mercy College), but his shot was rolled toward McCallion, who made the stop.
- That chance preceded the match-winner, which came off the foot of Marchionna in the 104th minute. He was set up nicely by Akeem Bradford (Kingston, Jamaica / Camperdown [Cincinnati State]), who earned the assist with a through ball that led to Marchionna unleashing one from 15 yards out. That shot found the bottom right corner of the net, sending the Crusaders into a state of elation.
Inside the Match
- Marchionna’s goal was the first of his Crusader career. Bradford notched his second career assist and lifted his career point total to four in his second season at Valpo.
- The box score reflects Valpo owning play throughout the match, as the Crusaders outshot the Jaguars 29-2 and placed 10 shots on goal to IUPUI’s one.
- McCallion took the defeat despite racking up eight saves, while Valpo goalkeeper Nacho Miras (Ubeda, Spain / Nuestra Semora del Pilar) started the season with his second career clean sheet.
- Mentzingen rifled off 12 shots, the most in a single match in his Crusader career. He placed two on frame.
- Valpo picked up its first season-opening triumph since 2011. This also marked the first time the Crusaders started the season at home since the 2011 campaign.
Thoughts from Head Coach Mike Avery
“I give a lot of credit to IUPUI for the way that they battled. They made the game hard for us and didn't allow us to easily settle into a rhythm in possession. Especially for an early-season game, it was a good effort from our guys. We grew into the game and continued to get better as the game wore on - which is exactly what we need out of these first games as we prepare for conference play down the road.”
“Obviously, as you look at the stats, we had plenty of chances to end the game earlier than we did, but that's OK. Finishing and sharpness in the final third is always one of the last pieces to come in a season, and it was clear to see that we have a lot of guys who are exciting in the attack - the goals will come. I was most pleased with a shutout; that was very important for us.”
The Crusaders will return to the pitch on Sunday for a road date with Marquette. The match gets going at 4:05 p.m. CT with links to live video (free of charge) and stats available on ValpoAthletics.com.