Jackie Kondratko’s (Granger, Ind./Penn H.S.) goal with 19:12 remaining in the match proved to be the difference for Valparaiso on Friday evening as the Crusaders defeated Ball State 1-0 at Eastgate Field in the season opener for both teams.
For Valpo, it marked the fourth straight season-opening victory and the second straight year the Crusaders have won their home opener.
“I thought we had stretches where we were pretty good today, but also had some stretches where we weren’t,” said head coach John Marovich, who was making his debut as Crusader head coach.” “We need to sustain the run of play. We were very good in the air today and I am pleased with our opener.”
Kondratrko collected a failed clearing attempt by the Cardinal defense after Jessie White (Buffalo Grove, Ill./Buffalo Grove H.S.) served the ball into the box, and beat goalkeeper Amy Cleeter to the far post for the lone goal of the match.
The Crusaders had two quality scoring opportunities in the first half, but were unable to find the back of the net before halftime. White had a shot in close that was turned away by starting goalkeeper Rachael Murphy while Jackie Thomas (Overland Park, Kan./Blue Valley Northwest H.S.) had a header attempted that was cleared away by the head of a Ball State defender.
Ball State (0-1) had several chances in the second half, but Mele Cabral (Boulder, Colo./Fairview H.S.) turned away all three shots she faced in the stanza on her way to the shutout.
“Mele made two wonderful saves for us in the second half to help us secure the victory,” Marovich said.
Valpo finished the match with a 7-5 edge in shots, and won six corner kick opportunities to Ball State’s two. Cabral finished the match with four saves while Murphy had two for the Cardinals in the first half.
Valparaiso (1-0) will have a week off before returning to action next Friday in Colorado Springs, Colo. as the Crusaders battle Colorado College. Kickoff is set for 5 p.m. CDT with all the action carried live on WVUR (95.1-FM, Valparaiso) and online at www.valpoathletics.com.
Match Notes: Marovich, the third head coach in the program’s history, is the first to earn a victory in his debut … Valpo improves to 4-12 in season openers, but more importantly, has won four straight … Kondratko’s match-winning goal is the first of her career and fourth career tally … Cabral earned her third career shutout, moving into a tie for fourth place on Valpo’s career list (Kristen Templin, Danielle Guerra) … the Crusaders are now 3-1 all-time against Ball State and 2-0 at Eastgate Field … Friday marked the first Valpo appearances for Tracy Roos (Centennial, Colo./Cherry Creek H.S.), Brooke Henderson (Westlake, Ohio/Westlake H.S.), Laura Romberg (Vernon Hills, Ill./Vernon Hills H.S.), and Erin Suckling (Newmarket, Ont./Newmarket H.S.) … Roos and Henderson earned starts in their debuts … Sammy Olson (Buffalo Grove, Ill./Buffalo Grove H.S.) made her first collegiate start.