Valparaiso battled for 90 minutes on Tuesday afternoon in Evanston, Ill., but in the end fell to Northwestern 2-0.
Valparaiso's Erin Murray (Pleasanton, Calif./Amador Valley H.S.) kept the Crusaders close early. The sophomore goalkeeper made four saves in the match's first 20 minutes, several from point-blank range.
The Wildcats broke through midway through the first half when Jeanette Lorme fired a shot from the top of the box that Murray knocked aside. However, Tabitha Lowey headed home the rebound from just left of the goal.
Northwestern added a second goal at the 35:41 mark as Lorme fed a pass through the middle of the box to Jenny Dunn who scored from 12 yards out.
Murray kept the Crusaders close in the first half, knocking aside seven Northwestern shots, while Valpo managed to just fire four of its own toward goal in the first half.
The Crusader defense tightened in the second stanza, as they held Northwestern (7-1) to just three shot attempts in the second half as the Wildcats outshot Valpo 14-7 for the match. Murray made seven saves for the Brown and Gold while Danielle Guerra (Chesterton, Ind./Chesterton H.S.) made one in the final 23 minutes of action. Whitney Jones made three saves for the hosts.
Valparaiso (5-3) will continue its four-match road trip this weekend as the Crusaders head to Omaha, Neb. for the Diadora Classic. Valpo will face North Dakota State in the first match, Friday at 4:30 p.m.