The Valparaiso University women’s soccer team kicked off the 2019 season in front of a strong hometown contingent Friday evening at Brown Field, but a 49th-minute goal was enough for visiting Green Bay to claim the 1-0 victory.
How It Happened
- It was a feeling-out process to start the match, as neither side recorded a shot until the 14th minute of action.
- The first shot on goal Valpo freshman goalkeeper Georgia Henkel (Houston, Texas/Stratford) faced as a collegiate netminder was a tricky one, as Phoenix attacker Jordyn Cook sent a spinning ball on a high-arcing trajectory towards the frame. But Henkel was up to the task, securing the shot.
- Henkel made another strong stop in the 35th minute to make sure the match remained scoreless into intermission, stoning Green Bay’s Alexa Bentley on a breakout from in tight with a diving effort to her left.
- The Phoenix claimed the lead less than four minutes out of the halftime break. A cross from the left to the far side of the box by Ellie Vasey was claimed by Caitlin Hawley following an attempted header by a Valpo back. Hawley then scooted it underneath a charging Henkel for what would be the game’s lone goal.
- After attempting just two first-half shots, Valpo out-shot Green Bay over the final 45 minutes by a 7-4 count. Three of the attempts came in the final seven minutes of the game as the Brown and Gold pushed forward looking for the equalizer, but the Phoenix held Valpo off the board.
Inside the Match
- Valpo featured five true freshmen in its starting XI on Friday, as in addition to Henkel, the Brown and Gold had one rookie on defense in Nicole Norfolk (Menomonee Falls, Wis./Divine Savior Holy Angels), one in the midfield in Natalie Graf (Williamsburg, Mich./St. Francis) and two attacking in Kiley Dugan (Irwin, Pa./Penn-Trafford) and Madison Tuma (Rochester, Minn./Shattuck St. Mary’s).
- Five freshmen starters mark the most for a Valpo women’s soccer team in a season opener since at least 1998.
- Including transfer sophomore Katie Hansen (Lombard, Ill./Glenbard East [Montana]), over half of Valpo’s starters on Friday evening are new to the program this year.
- Friday’s loss was the first for Valpo in a season opener since 2016. It was the program’s first defeat against Green Bay since 2001.
- The sides finished the night even on shot attempts, both registering nine shots and both tallying four on goal. Henkel made three saves in her debut, while on the Green Bay side, Claudia Janese played the second half in goal and stopped three shots to earn the win.
Thoughts From Coach Marovich
“Obviously, we're disappointed in the result, but I thought we came out and responded well in the second half and played much better. We were facing a system that we don't see very often from our opponent, using a deep sweeper, and I think in the first half, we got away from what we do. In the second half, we adjusted our system and our players adjusted very well. Unfortunately, we give away a somewhat soft goal early on in the half and just weren't able to get it back.”
“I thought Morgen (Metzger) did a nice job for us tonight, shifting into the back line and playing back there. Georgia made a couple really nice saves in her first game. It was great to be able to get Tahleah (Noel) and Kiera (Pratt) back into the game for us as well for the first time in a couple years.”
“In general, we're a young team right now that is still learning our way, learning who we are and what we can become. For a while, we're going to be learning game-by-game what players are going to be capable of in different situations. I feel like each game, we've taken strides forward - from our first exhibition through tonight.”
Valpo (0-1-0) closes out opening weekend at home on Brown Field Sunday afternoon as it welcomes Oakland to town. Kickoff is slated for 1 p.m., and the match can be seen live on ESPN3.