Taking to the pitch for the first time in competitive action on Sunday afternoon in Morehead, Ky., the Valparaiso University women’s soccer team put together a strong showing, taking down Morehead State by a 4-1 final in the Crusaders’ lone exhibition match. Valpo opens the regular season Friday night at Brown Field.
The Crusaders claimed a lead they would not relinquish leading up to the halfway mark of the first half, as junior Cory Griffith (Lemont, Ill./Providence Catholic) and sophomore Tahelah Noel (Buffalo, N.Y./Christian Central Academy) scored goals less than four minutes apart to put Valpo up 2-0 inside of 21 minutes.
How It Happened
- Valpo’s leading returning scorer, Griffith needed less than 17 minutes to find the back of the net on Sunday in the first action of the season, taking a pass from senior Sydney Gountounas (Tinley Park, Ill./Andrew) near the edge of the box and moving around a defender before driving a shot past MSU goalkeeper Michelle Washburn.
- Noel doubled the lead just past the 20-minute mark, using her speed to out-pace the defense, taking a feed from freshman Keegan Maris (Batavia, Ill./Batavia) and sending her effort along the ground to make it a 2-0 game.
- Griffith, who has scored three braces in regular season play over her first two seasons, tallied a second goal Sunday in the 54th minute to extend the Crusaders’ advantage to 3-0, as she turned with a shot inside the back post from about 12 yards out. Junior Kelsey Jahn (Oregon, Wis./Oregon) played the ball in to Griffith to earn the assist on her second tally.
- Senior Jordon Tindell (Jacksonville, Fla./Bishop Kenny) capped the scoring for Valpo with a one-time bullet in the 73rd minute. Fellow senior Lily Chetosky (Hinsdale, Ill./Hinsdale) played a pass back to Tindell at the edge of the box, which she roped in from 18 yards out. A late goal on a rebound in the 87th minute from Morehead State’s Ashley Ritchie got the Eagles on the board and provided the final margin.
Inside the Game
- The Crusaders controlled the game on Sunday throughout, out-shooting Morehead State by a 16-8 margin and tallying nine corner kicks against the Eagles’ six.
- Playing its lone exhibition match, Valpo looked to get playing time for plenty of players on Sunday. A total of 24 Crusaders saw the field in the victory.
- Junior Drew Moulton (Sycamore, Ill./Sycamore) started in goal and played the first half, making a pair of saves. Freshman Kezia Gesell (Winnipeg, Manitoba/Glenlawn Collegiate Institute) stepped in at goalkeeper in the second half and made three saves.
Coach Marovich’s Thoughts
“I think today was a great way for us to put together what we've been working on in training throughout camp. It was really fun to see our group's development come to fruition on the field. We had a lot of positives in the attacking third.”
“Cory and T’s goals were two really good finishes. We had a good run of it in the first 20 minutes, and got payoff for our work in that time.”
“Overall, it was a solid performance on the day from the entire group – we got a lot of looks from a lot of different players. Our defending got a little sloppy near the end of the game, but Kez made three really nice saves in goal – it was a good way for her to get started. Keegan had a really nice start as well, playing a lot of minutes. Today was a great way for us to put preseason behind us, and now we focus on getting ready to start the season Friday.”
Valpo opens the regular season on Friday evening at Brown Field against Grace at 7:30 p.m., the first of two home matches on opening weekend for the Crusaders. Live stats will be available for the season opener via ValpoAthletics.com.