Facing a one-goal deficit just over five minutes from time, freshman Sarrah Ludwig (Downers Grove, Ill./South) sent a strike from 25 yards inside the right post to propel Valparaiso to a 1-1 (2ot) draw with Kent State Friday evening at Brown Field. The Crusaders remain unbeaten on the season, now owning a 2-0-1 record.
Following the booking of a Kent State player in the 85th minute, the Crusaders re-started, and Ludwig eventually came up with a touch on the right flank just outside the area. Off-balance and with a Golden Flashes defender bearing down on her, the rookie struck a left-footed shot which eluded goalkeeper Stephanie Senn and made its away inside the post for the equalizer.
"I thought we did well as far as getting up and winning 50/50 balls tonight, but thought that we could have done better in winning the second balls," said Crusader head coach John Marovich. "At the end of the day, the biggest thing is that we're a resilient team. We ended up giving away a goal, and were able to continue to fight all the way to the end and got the equalizer on a half-chance. It's a great message for our players on why we take half-chances, because those tend to be the ones that find the back of the net."
The opening 45 minutes saw few chances either way, as both sides put just one shot on goal. Kent State originally claimed the lead just under 20 minutes into the second half, as a combination play got the ball to the foot of Stephanie Haugh, who struck a shot into the upper half of the goal from 20 yards out to put the Golden Flashes on the scoreboard.
Each side would put just one shot on goal over the pair of overtime periods as well. Kent State had the best chance in extra time, as Jaclyn Dutton took a free kick from straight on just outside the box and rattled the crossbar. Off the rebound, the Golden Flashes found the back of the net, but they had been flagged for offside prior to the shot.
"I thought Rachel Hoaglin was quite good for us in the middle today," said Marovich. "I thought Rita Craven was also pretty good in the middle, getting up and winning headball. Sarrah, beyond her strike, also was stellar in winning headballs."
Kent State (2-0-1) held a slight 14-11 advantage in shots, and put five efforts on goal to Valpo’s four. Junior goalkeeper Kristen Manski (Saint Charles, Ill./North) made four saves in the draw, while Senn stopped three shots for KSU.
"I think there's a lot we can take away from this game," said Marovich. "We did a better job of keeping the ball under pressure than we did in preseason. I think that's been an area of growth for us, and we're going to continue to be challenged in that area over our next several matches. The better we keep the ball under pressure, the better I think our team will be."
Valparaiso (2-0-1) hits the road for the first time this year on Sunday, making the short trip to Chicago to take on DePaul at 4 p.m. Live stats for the match will be available through www.valpoathletics.com.
Noteworthy: Ludwig’s goal was the first of her career, making her the first Crusader freshman to tally this season ... Ludwig's equalizer was the latest by a Crusader player since Kelly Faulkner scored in the 88th minute of an eventual 1-1 draw at Toledo on Sept. 10, 2004 ... the 64th minute goal was the first surrendered this year by Valpo ... the Crusaders are one match away from matching the 2010 squad for longest unbeaten streak to start a season.