Freshman Rita Craven (Frankfort, Ill./Lincoln-Way North) made her first career goal a golden one, tallying less than two minutes into extra time as Valparaiso posted its third straight shutout with a 1-0 victory over IPFW Sunday evening in Fort Wayne, Ind.
Craven made sure it wouldn't take long for the Crusaders to record their first overtime win since Oct. 11, 2009 on Sunday. Senior Rachel Hoaglin (Lakeville, Minn./Academy of Holy Angels) won a ball and took it down the left side, feeding it into the box. Craven was there to beat the IPFW goalkeeper inside the far right post for the game's lone goal.
“It was a very clinical finish from Rita,” said Crusader head coach John Marovich. “I'm glad we were able to continue to fight through as a team and get that goal in overtime.”
The game was controlled by Valpo, which out-shot IPFW by a 17-8 margin, including nine on goal, while also winning seven corner kicks to just one for the Mastodons. The Crusaders especially dominated in the first half, tallying seven shots, five of which were on frame, but Mastodon goalkeeper Sam Pavlika stopped all five efforts to keep the game scoreless at the break.
Valpo also enjoyed the better of the statistics in the second stanza, but the best chance might have come from the Mastodons' Rachel Good in the 67th minute. Good's shot was past Valpo goalkeeper Kristen Manski (Saint Charles, Ill./North), but a sliding effort from freshman Jenny Fassbinder (Hudson, Wis./Hudson) kept the game scoreless as she cleared the ball off the line. In the 72nd minute, it looked like Fassbinder might give the Crusaders a lead, but her shot went off the crossbar and regulation eventually ended scoreless, setting up Craven's match-winner.
“We had a really nice start to the game overall, and I thought played well throughout,” said Marovich. “IPFW are a very organized, very diligent group. They looked to counter and did it very well, making it difficult at times for us to keep the ball. When we did, I felt like we did some good things. Overall, faced with a little adversity, we got a good response from our group and were eventually able to find a goal.”
Manski made a pair of saves to go along with the team save as Valpo picked up its third consecutive clean sheet. Pavlika ended the night with eight saves in the losing effort for IPFW.
Valparaiso (5-2-1) journeys out to the West Coast next weekend for its final pair of non-league games prior to the start of Horizon League play. The two-game trip starts on Friday night, September 21 as the Crusaders play at San Francisco. Live stats for the match, which is slated for a 9 p.m. CDT kickoff, will be available through www.valpoathletics.com.