The Valparaiso University women’s soccer team kept its unblemished record in 2017 intact on Sunday, posting its second straight shutout in a 2-0 victory over IUPUI in non-league action. The Crusaders have started 2-0-0 for just the third time in program history.
Continuing her strong first weekend of play as a Crusader, junior Sydney Griffin (Hinsdale, Ill./Hinsdale Central [New Hampshire]) broke away for a 28th minute goal to give Valpo a lead it would not relinquish.
How It Happened
- After a back and forth opening few minutes, Valpo settled into dominating possession and pressing on the attack – much the same as its effort Friday night. Junior Cory Griffith (Lemont, Ill./Providence Catholic) had a header off a corner cleared off the line by an IUPUI defender in the ninth minute, and then in the 24th minute, an effort inside the box from Griffith was punched up into the crossbar by Jaguar goalkeeper Sophia Lipka.
- Just a few minutes later, the breakthrough would come for the Crusaders. Junior Kelsey Jahn (Oregon, Wis./Oregon) played a through ball down the center of the field for Griffin, who used her speed to split the IUPUI backs and take it in alone on Lipka before finishing from 15 yards out to give Valpo the advantage.
- The Crusaders had a golden opportunity to double the lead early in the second half off a corner kick in the 50th minute, but Griffith’s header came back off the crossbar and freshman Lauren Torhorst (Waterford, Wis./Waterford Union) – in search of her second goal of the weekend – had her header go just wide of frame.
- Valpo eventually found an insurance goal in the 73rd minute. Senior Grace Rogers (Woodbury, Minn./Woodbury) carried the ball on a run down the right flank, getting nearly to the end line before sending a cross along the ground into the box. Waiting for the pass was sophomore Tahelah Noel (Buffalo, N.Y./Christian Central Academy), who buried her shot from the center of the area to make it 2-0 Crusaders.
Inside the Game
- Griffin capped a five-point weekend with her match-winning goal Sunday, following up a goal and an assist in Friday night’s victory. The junior is just the second player in program history to find the back of the net in each of Valpo’s first two matches of the season, joining Lori Moore in 2001.
- Noel’s second-half goal was the first tally of her Crusader career.
- Jahn, who entered her junior season with just one career assist, has tallied a helper in each of the Crusaders’ first two matches. Rogers now owns nine career assists, just one shy of Valpo’s career top-ten list in the category.
- Valpo enjoyed a healthy 22-13 advantage in shot attempts on Sunday and put 11 efforts on goal to just five for IUPUI. Lipka made eight saves in goal for the Jaguars. The Crusaders owned a 7-2 edge in corner kicks as well.
- Junior Drew Moulton (Sycamore, Ill./Sycamore) earned her second consecutive clean sheet, stopping five saves in Sunday’s shutout.
- This marks the first time since 2012 that the Crusaders have started a season 2-0-0 and just the third time in program history they have done so (2010). No Valpo team has ever started 3-0-0, as both previous teams to win their first two drew their third match of the year.
- This year’s squad joins the 2012 team as well as the only two teams in program history to start the season with back-to-back shutouts.
Coach Marovich’s Thoughts
“I’m pleased with the way we put together another offensive performance that resulted in 11 shots on goal, which we were able to get two goals out of. We still have the ability to be a lot more efficient with our finishing and can still get better with our movement up front.”
“I thought our back line definitely improved over the course of the weekend – the unit dealt well with the different types of attacks we faced over the two games. The backs did a great job today winning balls in the air. Natalia Kontul did a really good job getting across attackers’ space when she needed to, Ali Quillen had some impressive tackles to kill attacks and Syd Gountounas was able to step up and read the game well. Their work in the back today really helped out our midfield and enabled them to connect with our front-runners.”
“We’re happy with the fact we got two results this weekend and kept a clean sheet, but we know we still have work to do to reach what we’re capable of, and we’re looking forward to continuing to grow together as a team.”
Valpo (2-0-0) heads to the Sunshine State next weekend, flying down to Boca Raton, Fla. for the Owl Classic. The Crusaders will take on Florida Gulf Coast in their first matchup of the weekend on Friday afternoon at 4 p.m. CT.