Valparaiso has reached the midway point of the Mid-Continent Conference schedule unbeaten while kicking off Homecoming weekend in style at the University as the Crusaders defeated Centenary 2-0 on a cool, crisp Friday afternoon at Eastgate Field.
With the win Valpo improves to 7-4-1 overall and a perfect 3-0 in Mid-Con play. The Brown and Gold is a perfect 5-0 at Eastgate Field this season, tying a school mark set in 2004 for most home victories in a season.
Valpo put on the offensive pressure from the start, trying to capitalize on a brisk wind that was at the Crusaders backs in the first half. The Brown and Gold put 16 first half shots toward goal, ten of which were on net, but could not find the back of the goal until the 42:54 mark. Ali Hilsher turned aside the first nine shots by the Crusaders, as Valpo also had ten corner kick opportunities in the half.
The Crusaders finally got on the scoreboard right before halftime when Ashley Shaneyfelt (Roswell, Ga./Roswell H.S.) sent a cross through the goal goal box that a Lady defender attempted to head away, but instead put it into the goal. The goal was registered as an own goal.
The Brown and Gold continued to put on the pressure in the second half, outshooting Centenary 9-2 in the stanza, seven of which were on goal. Hilsher continued to turn shots away until Lori Johnson (Sachse, Texas/Naaman Forest H.S.) banged home a Reva Van Aartsen (Brookfield, Wis./Brookfield East H.S.) rebound to give Valpo its insurance goal with just 2:02 remaining.
Valpo outshot the Ladies 25-3 for the match, holding a 17-1 advantage on goal. The Crusaders also had 18 corner kick opportunities compared with just one for Centenary (4-8-1, 0-2 Mid-Con). Erin Murray (Pleasanton, Calif./Amador Valley H.S.) turned aside the only shot she faced to record her third shutout of the season and ninth for her career.
The Crusaders will step out of conference action when they return to the field on Sunday afternoon as the Brown and Gold travels to Chicago. Valpo will face Loyola (Ill.) in a match beginning at 1 p.m.