Lauren Gagnon’s (Grand Haven, Mich./Spring Lake H.S.) first collegiate goal just over 10 minutes into the match lifted Valparaiso to a 1-0 victory over Eastern Illinois on Friday evening at Brown Field in the first regular season night game ever played on the Valparaiso University campus. With the victory, the Crusaders also move to 2-0 on the young season for the first time in program history.
Gagnon redirected a cross from Luisa Desario (Bartlett, Ill./Bartlett H.S.) at the edge of the six-yard box and beat Panther goalkeeper Kaylin Lorbert at the 10:10 mark of the first half for the match’s lone goal. Desario now has a team-leading four points on the year.
“The goal started from a good combination,” head coach said. “The players were in good spots and we were able to frame the goal well.”
The Crusaders appeared to score less than five minutes into its home opener, only to have the play whistled offsides. Valpo had another good opportunity with about 18 minutes remaining before intermission, but Desario’s shot hit the crossbar.
“I liked the way we came out at the start,” Marovich added. “We had great energy, made some plays, and did a good job of winning balls out of the air in the midfield.”
The Crusaders held a 4-2 shot advantage in the opening 45 minutes.
In the second half, both teams were able to get off just four shots, with only one each on goal. Kristen Manski (Saint Charles, Ill./North H.S.) made two saves, one in the final 45 minutes, to preserve the shutout. For the freshman, it was her first career clean sheet.
“In the second half we got ourselves out of sorts,” Marovich concluded. “We were not as composed and started chasing the game. There are definitely some things we take out of this match that we need to work on.”
Lorbert also made two saves for Eastern Illinois (2-1) in goal, suffering her first setback of the season.
Valpo finished the match outshooting the Panthers 8-6, and held a 2-1 advantage in corner kick opportunities.
Valparaiso will return to action on Saturday afternoon as the Crusaders head to Evansville to battle the Purple Aces. Kickoff is set for 1 p.m.
Match Notes: Valpo is now 2-7-1 all-time against Eastern Illinois, but has won the last two in the series … this was the first meeting between the two schools since 2003 … the Crusaders are now 5-13 all-time in home openers … Valpo is now 4-1 all-time at Brown Field.