A dominant performance for the Valparaiso University women’s soccer team was highlighted by a pair of second-half goals from sophomore Cory Griffith (Lemont, Ill./Providence Catholic), as she found the back of the net in the 64th and 69th minutes to give the Crusaders a 2-0 win over New Mexico State at Brown Field on Friday evening.
How It Happened
- New Mexico State pressured the Crusader defense early, tallying three shots in the opening 12 minutes – two of which were saved by senior goalkeeper Sydney Galvez-Daley (Chicago, Ill./Fenwick [Creighton]).
- Valpo turned the tables in the final 30 minutes of the first half, finishing the opening period with eight shots – five on goal – and eight corner kicks. But the Crusaders were unable to score in the opening 45 minutes, as the game went into halftime scoreless.
- Griffith got the Crusaders on the board in the 64th minute, taking a feed from senior April Cronin (Glenview, Ill./Glenbrook South) and sending a shot from 20 yards out on the left flank past NMSU goalkeeper Ashley Martin.
- Just over six minutes later, Griffith completed her second career brace. Junior Grace Rogers (Woodbury, Minn./Woodbury) sent a ball into the box from 45 yards away, and Griffith – with her back to the goal – got up above her defender to head the ball into the back of the net.
Inside the Game
- Griffith now owns five career goals following her two-goal effort Friday. She previously netted a brace for the Crusaders last season in Horizon League play at Youngstown State.
- Cronin’s assist gives her 41 career points, moving her alone into fifth place in Crusader history in the category.
- Galvez-Daley finished with four saves for Valpo to earn the shutout – the 14th clean sheet of her career. Martin stopped 11 shots in goal for NMSU (0-3-0).
- The Crusaders finished the match with a 22-10 advantage in shots, including a 13-4 edge in shots on goal. Valpo also peppered the box with 15 corner kicks, while the Aggies earned just one corner of their own.
- 18 players saw action for Valpo on Friday, all playing at least 16 minutes apiece. Freshman Natalia Kontul (Solon, Ohio/Solon) was one of four Crusaders who went the full 90 minutes and now has played every minute of each of Valpo’s first three matches.
Thoughts From Head Coach John Marovich
“I thought that after the first 15 minutes, we just really settled in and found our rhythm. We were really consistent with our rhythm from that point up until the last five minutes of the game. Finding that rhythm really benefited us and led to some really creative combinations in the second half - things which will benefit us down the road.”
“Playing Michelle Mottonen up in the #9 role tonight, with her movement, really created problems for the defense. Her movement led to April having more time and space to play, and then Cory's ability up front to play hard and be relentless with her performance really changed the complexion of the game.”
“Cory's two goals were obviously big, but I think just as important was her mindset on the field - she displayed in her play the culture we want to have. She made a big difference, and I feel like that carried over and built throughout the team. Our back line got better with their shape, and everyone was cleaner with their play. Hopefully we can continue to build on tonight's performance moving forward.”
The Crusaders (1-2-0) make the short trip to the Windy City on Sunday, traveling to Loyola for a 1 p.m. kickoff. Live stats will be available via ValpoAthletics.com.