The Valparaiso women’s soccer team put forth a dominating performance to open the 2012 regular season Friday night at Brown Field, with senior Luisa Desario (Bartlett, Ill./Bartlett) scoring the decisive goal in the 59th minute as the Crusaders downed IUPUI under the lights, 1-0.
“I thought Luisa was really good for us tonight,” said Crusader head coach John Marovich. “I felt like she attacked the end line well and got our team scoring opportunities. I also thought that Rachel Hoaglin was good tonight as well. She did a yeoman’s job in the midfield, not doing a whole lot of flashy stuff, but she won a lot of important tackles for us.”
The teams started the second half scoreless despite the fact that the Crusaders out-shot the Jaguars over the opening 45 minutes by a 10-2 margin. But Valpo needed less than 14 minutes into the second stanza to get on the board.
With possession on the left flank just outside the top of the box, senior Catherine Terrell (Brighton, Mich./Brighton) played Desario in past the backs, leaving her fellow senior a 1v1 opportunity with IUPUI goalkeeper Giselle Guzman. Desario calmly took a dribble before sending a strike from 10 yards past Guzman and inside the right post for the game’s lone tally.
While Desario scored the game’s lone goal, Valpo dominated the run of play to the tune of a 26-5 shot advantage and had numerous attempts to add to its side of the scoreboard. Early on in the sixth minute, freshman Jordyn Ryfiak (Rockford, Mich./Rockford) made an impressive 60-yard run, eluding a number of Jaguar defenders before her strike from 20 yards rifled off the crossbar. Later in the first half, Desario also had a strike from just outside the box ricochet off the goal frame. The Crusaders also earned 12 corner kick opportunities, nine of which came in the final 45 minutes.
Meanwhile, junior goalkeeper Kristen Manski (Saint Charles, Ill./North) only had a pair of shots on goal to deal with, both of which came from distance, to earn the shutout. Guzman made nine saves on IUPUI’s side, as the Crusaders put 10 shots on frame. The two squads also committed 11 fouls apiece.
“Our overall team shape today was good, and I’m pleased with the fact we played through every tackle, through every minute of the game,” said Marovich. “I thought we had a good mentality about us, and I think that’s why we were able to push one across and get the win. I like the fact we had a lot of shots, a lot of shots on goal and a lot of corners. I would have like to have scored off a corner, but I also thought IUPUI’s goalkeeper was quite good on the night. We’re still trying to find our rhythm as a team, but we came out of tonight with lots of positives and some things we need to still work through that we can build off of going into Sunday.”
Valparaiso (1-0-0) continues a three-match homestand to open the regular season at Brown Field on Sunday afternoon as the Crusaders host Towson at 1 p.m. Live stats will be available at www.valpoathletics.com.
Noteworthy: Desario’s goal was the 15th of her career, moving her into a tie for fifth place all-time at Valpo ... Desario also moved into fifth place in Crusader history in points (37) ... Manski earned her 13th career clean sheet ... the Crusaders are now undefeated in their last eight matches against IUPUI (7-0-1) ... four freshmen made their debut in a Valpo kit Friday (Ryfiak, Rita Craven, Sarrah Ludwig and Jenny Fassbinder) ... Valpo’s 26 shots were the most in a single game since tallying 27 against Youngstown State on Oct. 24, 2010.