The Valparaiso University men’s soccer team utilized an impressive goal late in regulation to garner a point in the Missouri Valley Conference standings on Saturday night at Evansville. The result was an important one as it allowed Valpo to clinch a conference tournament appearance.
How It Happened
- After Rafael Mentzingen (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil / Bryan) placed a shot on goal in the first minute of the match, Valpo did not force Evansville goalkeeper Frederick Reimer to make another save until the 39th minute. Valpo goalkeeper Nacho Miras (Ubeda, Spain / Nuestra Semora del Pilar) also had a pair of early saves in a fixture that was scoreless until the 43rd minute.
- Jesse Stafford-Lacey snapped the scoreless tie with his goal just before halftime. Logan Muck earned the assist by playing it to Stafford-Lacey, who scored past the keeper.
- Valpo forced Reimer into a pair of saves in the first 20 minutes of the second half before Miras registered two saves of his own in a five-minute span later in the half.
- Evansville held its one-goal lead until the 82nd minute, when Demar Rose (Kingston, Jamaica / Wolmer’s Boys School) turned in a dazzling equalizer. Rose finished in the upper right corner after receiving a free-kick assist from Lucca Lacerda (Passos, Brazil / Mercy College).
- A key juncture in the match occurred in the first overtime, when a second yellow on a Valpo player in the 100th minute led to Valpo playing shorthanded for the final 10 minutes. However, the one-player Evansville advantage lasted only three minutes as a red card on the Evansville goalkeeper in the 103rd minute made it briefly 10 vs. 10 before another Valpo player was sent off with a second yellow, making it a 10 vs. 9.
- Shortly after the Purple Aces (3-7-7, 1-2-2) saw their starting goalkeeper sent off with a red, the newly-entered keeper made a brilliant save to stop a bicycle kick from Michael Marchionna (Naperville, Ill. / Naperville Central) in the 104th minute.
- Miras made one more save in the 109th minute, keeping the match deadlocked at one.
Inside the Game
- The victory extends Valpo’s unbeaten streak to five. The team enters the regular season finale with just one MVC defeat all year and it came 1-0 on the road against perennial power Missouri State.
- The Rose goal was his first of the season and the second of his career. His first was on Oct. 31, 2016 – the match-winner a 5-0 victory over IUPUI.
- Lacerda picked up his second assist and team-leading 10th point this season.
- Miras accumulated six saves, establishing a new season watermark.
- Evansville held a 17-12 advantage in total shots, while the teams were even at seven in shots on goal.
Thoughts from Head Coach Mike Avery
“It was a very intense game, as you figured it would be with both teams trying to qualify at the end of a very tight and competitive league season. Evansville was playing on senior night, in front of a homecoming crowd, needing points to qualify for the tournament, and Evansville brought the appropriate energy to earn a result. We didn’t match that energy initially, but did find our way into the game.”
“The game took a strange turn when all the cards for both teams came out, but I was very proud of our resolve in the end to grind out a result.”
“The point qualifies us for the postseason, which is no small accomplishment in this league, and we can now turn our attention to preparing for next weekend’s game. We want to build momentum into the tournament, and next weekend is a great opportunity for that.”
Valpo (4-7-4, 1-1-3) will look to better its conference tournament positioning with the home finale on Saturday, Nov. 3 at 7 p.m. CT against Drake. Links to live video and stats will be available on ValpoAthletics.com.