Valparaiso outshot Youngstown State 27-8 and held a 21-1 advantage in corner kick opportunities on Sunday afternoon, but the two sides battled to a 1-1 double-overtime deadlock at Eastgate Field in the 2010 finale for both schools.
The Crusaders had control of the run of play for most of the opening half, outshooting the Penguins 12-2 and earning nine corners.
Playing with the wind at their back, Valpo fired eight of the shots on goal, only to have Penguin keeper Nicole Kline turn aside seven in the opening 45 minutes.
Casey Pedersen (Northville, Mich./Mercy H.S.) finally put the Crusaders on the scoreboard at the 16:52 mark though, dribbling to the end line before firing a shot from the right side of the field to the far post, just eluding Kline’s hands. For Pedersen, it was her team-leading fourth goal of the season.
“I’m extremely happy with Casey getting a goal today,” head coach John Marovich said. “She battled back from injury which caused her to miss last year, worked hard to come into camp in shape this season, and it all paid off for her.”
The Crusaders took the 1-0 lead midway into the second half when Kelsey Kempton took a free kick from the other side of midfield, and utilizing the wind hit a ball that bounced high and over the head of Valpo netminder Stefanie Matsas (Elmhurst, Ill./York H.S.) to tie the contest.
Valpo continued to control play though, forcing Kline to make a total of eight saves on the afternoon. The Crusaders had the only five shots in the overtime, and won 12 corner kick opportunities in the final 65 minutes but just could not convert.
The Crusader defense allowed just four shots on goal all day.
“The backline played really strong again today,” Marovich said.
Matsas made three saves for the Brown and Gold between the posts.
Brooke Henderson (Westlake, Ohio/Westlake H.S.) had five shots for the Crusaders while Luisa Desario (Bartlett, Ill./Bartlett H.S.) and Tara Ellis (Portage, Ind./Portage H.S.) had three each. Mikki Nuccio (Ortonville, Mich./Brandon H.S.) had two shots as well for the Brown and Gold.
“Mikki gave us great energy late in the season which was great to see,” Marovich added. “Tara also did a good job understanding her role this year. She stayed positive and it paid off for her as the season went along.”
Valparaiso finished its season 5-8-5 overall and 1-5-1 in Horizon League play. Youngstown State concluded the year at 3-13-1, 1-6-1.
“We will work hard in the offseason to get ready for next year,” Marovich concluded. “We’re learning lessons right now as a team and they are not always fun. There are lots of positives happening with the team though. We just had trouble finding the back of the net.”
Match Notes: Senior Sarah Melhorn (White Bear Lake, Minn./White Bear Lake H.S.), Valpo’s lone senior, started the match despite a knee injury after being honored prior to the contest … Matsas made her first career start in goal … Pedersen finished the season with a team-leading 10 points … this was a school record fifth tie in a single season for the Crusaders … Tracy Roos (Centennial, Colo./Cherry Creek H.S.) played every second this season for the Crusaders … Valpo leads the all-time series 8-0-2.