The Valparaiso University women’s soccer team picked up a key road win Wednesday evening in Horizon League play, rallying from a one-goal halftime deficit in Chicago to take down UIC less than two minutes into extra time by a 2-1 final. Senior April Cronin (Glenview, Ill./Glenbrook South) scored the golden goal for the Crusaders, matching Valpo’s records for both single-season and career game-winning goals.
How It Happened
- The Flames struck early to get on the board, scoring in the ninth minute on a goal from Anna Brusco.
- After UIC held the run of play for the first 25 minutes, the Crusaders turned the tables in the final 20 minutes of the first half – registering four shots, three on goal, and two corner kicks while limiting UIC to one shot attempt in that time. But the Flames held the Crusaders at bay, as Valpo entered halftime down 1-0.
- Valpo came out on the front foot in the second half and it paid off less than three minutes into the period. Freshman Tahelah Noel (Buffalo, N.Y./Christian Central Academy) brought the ball down the right-hand side and centered to junior Morgan Manzke (Orland Park, Ill./Sandburg) at the top of the six-yard box, who finished with a tap-in to level the match.
- The Crusaders kept the pressure on UIC throughout the second half, out-shooting the Flames 11-4 and putting four shots on goal to the Flames’ one, but were unable to go ahead.
- With the game in extra time, Valpo got the only chance it would need in the 92nd minute. A foul and yellow card on the Flames resulted in a free kick from 25 yards, and junior Grace Rogers (Woodbury, Minn./Woodbury) sent a simple pass into the box to a breaking Cronin, who finished from eight yards out for the match-winner.
Inside the Match
- Cronin’s match-winner was the 10th of her career, tying Lori Moore for the most game-winners in program history. It was also the senior’s fourth of the year, matching a multitude of others – including her own mark from 2014 and Cory Griffith’s (Lemont, Ill./Providence Catholic) tally from this season.
- Cronin now has eight goals on the season and 19 points, both of which are tied for seventh-most in a single season in program history. The senior is just one goal and one point shy of her personal career bests, both set during her sophomore season.
- Rogers’ assist on the match-winner was her team-best fourth of the year, tying her for ninth place in program history for assists in a single season.
- Manzke’s goal was her second of the season and fifth of her career, while Noel’s assist was her first point in a Crusader uniform. 11 different Crusaders have now registered points this season.
- Valpo finished the evening with a 16-9 advantage in shots over the Flames, and placed eight shots on goal to the Flames’ two. Crusader goalkeeper Tess Barrett (Tinley Park, Ill./Providence Catholic) had to make just one save in the winning effort.
- With Wednesday’s win, the Crusaders pulled out of the three-way tie they were in entering the week and are now three points clear in fifth position over both Oakland and UIC, holding the tiebreaker over the latter as well as the top six teams qualify for the Horizon League Championship.
- Valpo has now played extra time on six occasions this year, holding a 4-2-0 record in such games. The four wins in extra time match the program’s single-season high, set by the 2006 side which went 4-0-3 in extra time.
Thoughts From Head Coach John Marovich
“I was impressed with how our players tonight handled adjustments in such a professional way. The commitment to the process is what helped us adjust and find a way tonight.”
“Tahelah was very effective for us tonight because she committed to pressing and getting to the end line. Her pace, pressure and commitment to detail created the assist, and Morgan did a real nice job finishing in front of goal.”
“We had lots of solid performances tonight, in areas where players made decisions based on their specific skill sets. Caitlin Oliver, Cory Griffith and Kelsey Jahn made some really big plays by being relentless tonight. Our final goal tonight was executed by a fantastic pass from Grace Rogers, and April Cronin was there with a composed finish”
The Crusaders (8-8-0, 4-3-0 Horizon) close out their regular season home slate at Brown Field Saturday night against Oakland. Kickoff is slated for 7 p.m., with live stats available via ValpoAthletics.com.