The Valparaiso women’s soccer team picked up a crucial three points in Horizon League play on Saturday afternoon, downing Detroit 1-0 at Eastgate Field on a goal in the 87th minute from freshman Jordyn Ryfiak (Rockford, Mich./Rockford).
With the clock winding towards time, the game looked destined to head into an extra session until the Crusader rookie finished her second match-winner of the season. Senior Luisa Desario (Bartlett, Ill./Bartlett) sent a cross into the box from the right touch line, and Ryfiak finished from the left side of the box, 10 yards out, to give Valpo the late winner.
“It was a great team move to get the goal,” said Crusader head coach John Marovich. “Sarrah Ludwig did a nice job poking the ball away and played a wonderfully-driven ball to Abby Kenyon, who did a great job taking it down and holding on to it, waiting to get teammates. While she did that, it allowed Luisa to get up into the attack and Jordyn to get to the back post, where she was right where we needed her to be to finish.”
Valpo controlled the majority of the game, finishing the night with a shot advantage of 18-9. Both sides forced the opposing goalies to work in net, as Detroit (5-6-1, 2-2-0 Horizon) goalkeeper Nora Abolins made eight saves. Crusader netminder Kristen Manski (Saint Charles, Ill./North) stopped six shots to preserve the clean sheet for Valpo’s seventh shutout of the season. Manski now owns 19 career shutouts, just one off the Crusader career record.
“I thought we did some good things early in the first half, coming out and trying to keep the ball,” said Marovich. “We had a really nice move where we played in Jenny Fassbinder early in the game, which led to a high-quality chance. Detroit has a pair of really good forwards who pose a defense a lot of problems, and we started to struggle with it a bit as the first half went on. But we were able to make some changes and sort things out at halftime.”
“We really did a good job limiting touches to Detroit’s forwards in the second half, which made a big difference,” continued Marovich. “We did a very nice job with our defensive shape to gain a lot of cover so players could press more. Rita Craven did an outstanding job playing off of Trisha Wladecki in the second half, holding the ball allowing us to start our attack and get wide. Kristen had a pair of really quality punch saves as well. Anytime you get a shutout, it takes a great job by all 11, and we did a really quality job in holding Detroit to just two second-half shots.”
Valparaiso (8-4-1, 2-1-0 Horizon) steps out of league play on Tuesday evening as the Crusaders take on Saint Joseph’s (Ind.) at Brown Field starting at 7 p.m. The match can be seen live on the Horizon League Network and heard live on WVUR, 95.1 FM Valparaiso. Links for the live video and audio, as well as live stats, will be available through www.valpoathletics.com.
“We really did a good job limiting Detroit’s ability to get forward after the goal – a great way to finish the game,” said Marovich. “It was a good performance by our group, and I’m proud of everyone. We need to enjoy it tonight and get back to work tomorrow, because we still have a lot more work to do in a tough Horizon League.”