A pair of freshmen combined for all three of the goals for the Valparaiso women's soccer team in its 2013 exhibition opener at Northern Illinois, but it wasn't enough to overcome the Huskies, who earned a 4-3 victory Friday afternoon in DeKalb, Ill.
NIU got the scoring started quickly, as Mackenzie Lewis volleyed one home inside of five minutes. Cori Frankenberg tallied in the 18th minute for the Huskies to make it 2-0, with both early goals assisted by Nicole Gobbo. The Crusaders pulled one back in the 73rd minute, as freshman forward April Cronin (Glenview, Ill./Glenbrook South) scored from just inside the edge of the 18-yard box to cut the deficit to one goal.
Fellow rookie Robin Wenzel (Woodstock, Ill./Marian Central Catholic) brought Valpo back to level terms, finding the back of the net early in the 84th minute. The equalizer would set off a wild sequence, however, as the two sides combined for four goals in a 53-second span. Allie McBride scored for Northern Illinois 15 seconds after Wenzel's tally, and Gobbo made it 4-2 just 21 seconds later. Cronin connected for her second goal of the evening just 17 seconds after Gobbo's goal, but the Crusaders would be unable to draw level for a second time in the match, as it would end 4-3.
Valpo gave 21 players time on the pitch Friday evening. Nine freshmen saw their first action in a Crusader kit, with three of them - Cronin, Wenzel and Sydney Rumple (Rockford, Ill./Boylan Central Catholic) - in the starting XI. Senior Kristen Manski (St. Charles, Ill./North) played all 90 minutes in goal, making three saves for Valpo.
Valparaiso turns around in less than 48 hours for its second of two exhibition matches, making the trip to Chicago to take on Loyola Sunday afternoon at 1 p.m.