Evansville found the back of the net in the 89th minute for the lone goal of the match on Sunday afternoon, giving the Purple Aces a 1-0 victory over Valparaiso at Eastgate Field.
Stephanie Thompson’s shot to the far post from a tough angle on the left side, approximately 20 yards out, proved to be the difference. Thompson fired with just 1:17 remaining in the match after receiving a feed from Kaitlin Robinett.
Valpo seemed to control the entire match, but could not find the scoreboard despite outshooting the Purple Aces 19-10 on the afternoon, including an 11-4 edge on goal.
“It’s a difficult day for us,” head coach John Marovich said afterwards. “I felt like we created a lot of good things. However, we put ourselves in a situation like this when we didn’t finish our chances early.”
Luisa Desario (Bartlett, Ill./Bartlett H.S.) had a golden opportunity to put Valpo in front less than seven minutes into the first half, only to be turned aside by Evansville keeper Chaviel Harrison. The Crusaders had another quality chance midway through the stanza following a corner kick, only to have the header attempt go wide.
Valpo outshot Evansville 9-4, include 5-1 on goal in the scoreless opening period.
The Crusaders put three more shots on frame in the first 15 minutes of the second half, only to have Harrison turn aside each one. The match stayed scoreless until Thompson found the goal in the final moments to give Evansville (1-2-1) the win.
“You have to give Evansville credit,” Marovich added. “The put it in the back of the net and we didn’t. With 11 shots on goal, we should score at least once.”
Brooke Henderson (Westlake, Ohio/Westlake H.S.) led Valpo with six shots, including three on goal while Desario and Tracy Roos (Centennial, Colo./Cherry Creek H.S.) each had three shots turned aside as well.
Harrison made 10 saves for the Purple Aces while Kristen Manski (Saint Charles, Ill./North H.S.) made three saves in her first start of the season for the Crusaders.
Valparaiso (1-2) will head out on the road next weekend for a pair of matches at the Liberty Invitational. The Crusaders will face Coastal Carolina on Friday beginning at 3 p.m. in Lynchburg, Va.
Match Notes: This was Valpo’s first match on grass this season … Evansville leads the all-time series 7-2-1 … the Crusaders wrapped up their longest homestand all-time to open a season on Sunday.