The Valparaiso University men’s soccer team fell 4-1 to visiting Oral Roberts on Monday night at Brown Field. A quality Golden Eagles side upped its record to 6-3-2 after scoring two goals in each half. Senior Rafael Mentzingen (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil / Bryan) provided the Valpo goal in the 53rd minute on a penalty kick.
How It Happened
- Oral Roberts made an early statement with two goals in the first 12 minutes. Junior Chavez finished a chip shot over the goalkeeper from 25 yards out in the ninth minute with Christos Smirlis receiving an assist. In the 12th minute, Jorge Barrientos one-timed a cross from Alex Torres into the lower right to double the lead.
- Neither team scored for the remainder of the first half. Quality chances were hard to come by as the Golden Eagles led the shot column 6-4 at the break and after the two goals, there was only one additional shot on goal in the first half, also by Oral Roberts.
- A favorable bounce off an official helped set up Christos Smirlis, who scored Oral Roberts’ third goal of the game in the 49th minute on a shot that deflected off the left post and into the middle right.
- A foul in the box on Oral Roberts set the stage for Mentzingen’s 53rd minute goal on a penalty kick. That tally cut into the deficit and made it 3-1.
- Two minutes later, Lucca Lacerda (Passos, Brazil / Mercy College) created a quality chance, but Nicolas Mertzonkat notched a save.
- Paul Amponsah put the game away after taking a Tanguy Guerineau low cross from the right wing and finishing into the right corner in the 84th minute, extending the advantage back to three at 4-1.
Inside the Game
- This marked the second straight home game that Mentzingen converted a penalty kick. He now has five points including two goals this year and is 2-for-2 on PK tries. Mentzingen has scored 11 goals in his Valpo career.
- Valpo outshot Oral Roberts 17-12 including a 13-6 advantage in the second half.
- Playing its second game in three days, Valpo used 20 players on Monday. Adan Garcia (Dallas, Texas / Episcopal School of Dallas) was the only Valpo player to go all 90 minutes.
- Lacerda racked up six shots to lead the team.
- Alex Richt (Manhattan, Kan. / Manhattan [Graceland]) made his season debut in goal, playing the final 37 minutes.
Thoughts from Head Coach Mike Avery
“First off, congrats to Oral Roberts. Soccer really is a strange game sometimes, but it's also mostly fair and ultimately gives back what you put into it. We're a team that came into the season with high expectations and talent, and then the tide turned against us. What's happening right now is the guys are feeling like somehow things aren't fair. They are feeling like they are better than their record and they are wondering why their luck won't turn. The reality, though, is that we've forgotten that the only way to win in college soccer is by earning it. You have to work for it. You have to rely on each other, and you have to work for it. There is no other answer.”
“Of course, you can complain that just when you are really starting to ramp up the pressure and look like yourself, the opponent gets a break when a well cleared ball hits the referee and falls perfectly for the striker to finish and basically ice the game. But if you hang the game on that one moment, you dismiss the fact that we started slowly and gave them goals before we started to play. The reality is we have to start better.”
“So now, as we are coming off a tough week, we have a huge game on the weekend with Loyola. The reality again is that the three games we just played out of the league matter far less than the remaining five league games. The only way to get back on track is to get back to work. We have to learn from the lessons that we've been given. If a team pulls through and makes a run at the league, nobody remembers a strange night in October. Everything we want is still out there, but the only answer is to put your head down and get back to work. I don't know how the season will play out in terms of results, but I do know that we will work right until the end. There is no other answer."
Valpo (2-7-1) will return to Missouri Valley Conference play with its first Valley home date of the season on Saturday night at Brown Field. Loyola will be in town for a 7 p.m. start that will be broadcast on ESPN3.