Valparaiso (0-10-1, 0-0-0 MVC)
Saturday, Oct. 5 - at Indiana State (2-6-2, 0-0-1 MVC) - 6 p.m. CT
This Week in Valpo Soccer: As the calendar turns to October, the Valpo women’s soccer team heads into the heart of Missouri Valley Conference play as it closes out a three-match stretch away from home this Saturday at Indiana State.
Previously: Junior Tahelah Noel put Valpo on top midway through the first half in its MVC opener last Saturday at Missouri State, but the homestanding Bears scored a pair of second-half goals to hand Valpo a 2-1 defeat.
Looking Ahead: Valpo returns to Brown Field for the first time since Sept. 20 next Saturday night, as the Brown and Gold host Illinois State at 7:30 p.m. on the 12th.
Following the Brown and Gold: Live stats will be available for Saturday’s match. No live video will be streamed.
Head Coach John Marovich: In his 12th season at the helm of the Brown and Gold, John Marovich holds a 96-90-31 (.514) record both overall and at Valpo as a head coach. The 2014 Horizon League Coach of the Year, Marovich holds Valpo’s all-time records for both victories and winning percentage.
Series Notes: Valpo holds a 9-2-2 advantage in the all-time series over Indiana State, a series which dates back to the 2000 campaign. Valpo’s two losses in the series came in 2002 and 2003, as the Brown and Gold have earned results in each of the last nine meetings. Included in that streak are consecutive wins for Valpo over the Sycamores since joining the MVC - a 2-1 win in Terre Haute in 2017, and a 5-1 rout on Brown Field to close last season. The five goals Valpo netted versus ISU last season marked the program’s most prolific performance at home since 2005.
Scouting the Opposition: Indiana State enters Saturday night’s match at 2-6-2 on the season. The Sycamores have earned results in each of their last three matches, however, including a scoreless draw against Evansville to open MVC play last weekend. Six different players have accounted for ISU’s eight goals this year, led by two apiece from Celeste Wahlberg and Katie Sidloski. In goal, Hannah Sullivan has seen most of the action and owns a 1.19 GAA and a .796 save percentage.
Valpo Picked Seventh in Preseason Poll: Valpo has been picked to finish in seventh place in the MVC in 2019, according to preseason pollings of the conference’s head coaches. The Brown and Gold tallied 15 points in the polling. Loyola earned six of eight first-place votes en route to claiming the top spot. Valpo has not finished below its preseason projection in each of its first two years in The Valley.
Looking Back at 2018: Valpo posted a 5-8-3 record last season and went 2-4-1 in its second season of Missouri Valley Conference play. Cory Griffith was named a First Team All-MVC honoree as she closed out a stellar Valpo career with an eight-goal campaign, finishing her time at Valpo first in program history in game-winning goals (12) and second in goals (29) and points (65). Kelsey Jahn earned Second Team All-MVC honors, while Morgen Metzger was on the conference’s All-Freshman Team.
What’s Back and What’s New: Valpo returns 13 letterwinners from last year’s squad, including five starters. The program welcomed nine newcomers to the fold this season - eight true freshmen and one transfer.
Noel Adds to Her Tally: Redshirt junior forward Tahelah Noel notched Valpo’s goal to open MVC play at Missouri State last time out, a goal in the 25th minute that gave the Brown and Gold a lead they would hold for over 43 minutes. For Noel, it was her third career goal, but her first goal in a span of 757 days. Noel’s previous two tallies came just 12 days apart in her sophomore season, on Aug. 20 and Sept. 1 of 2017.
Late Heartbreak: Valpo’s conference opener at Missouri State looked destined for extra time last Saturday, as the clock ticked into the waning minutes of regulation tied at 1-1 before the Bears netted the eventual match-winner in the 85th minute. It was the latest Valpo had surrendered a goal in regulation to lose a one-goal match since the 2016 Horizon League Tournament opener at Oakland, when the Golden Grizzlies scored in the 83rd and 87th minutes to deal Valpo a 3-2 loss. Since that fixture, Valpo has also lost three matches in extra time, including a 110th-minute defeat at Canisius earlier this year.
Freshmen Finding the Net: Three of Valpo’s four goals so far this season have been scored by rookies. Freshman Nicole Norfolk headed home a corner kick in the first half against Wright State, with the assist on her goal coming from fellow freshman Natalie Graf. Then, in the second half against the Raiders, freshman Kiley Dugan drilled a 30-yard bomb for Valpo’s second goal. Most recently, Graf tallied her first career goal to open the scoring versus IUPUI.
Big Contribution From the Rookies: If the rookies end up accounting for over half of Valpo’s goals this year, it will be just the third time in the last two decades freshmen have scored at least 50% of the team’s goals - all of which have come a decade apart. The 2009 team had freshmen tally 15 of the 28 goals, led by Rachel Hoaglin’s seven and Luisa Desario’s six. Meanwhile, the 1999 team got 12 of its 20 goals from freshmen, led by six from Lori Moore. With three goals already this season, this year’s rookie class has already surpassed the program’s total from freshmen the last two years combined.
The Youth in the Side: Valpo has featured an extremely young side through the entirety of this season, starting with the season opener, where the Brown and Gold featured five freshmen in the starting XI. Five freshmen starters marked the most for a Valpo women’s soccer team in a season opener since at least 1998. To date, Valpo has started at least four freshmen and at least six total underclassmen in each match, with most matches featuring at least five rookies and seven underclassmen. The youngest starting XI to date came in the fixture at St. Bonaventure, when Valpo started six freshmen and three sophomores.