Valparaiso (1-13-1, 1-4-0 MVC)
Saturday, Oct. 26 - at Drake (6-8-1, 3-2-0 MVC) - 4 p.m.
Game at Urbandale H.S. (Urbandale, Iowa)
This Week in Valpo Soccer: After picking up a key three points in Missouri Valley Conference play last time out, the Valpo women’s soccer team faces its final road test of the regular season Saturday afternoon as it treks west to take on Drake. The match has been moved to Urbandale H.S. in Urbandale, Iowa.
Previously: Valpo dropped a 2-0 decision mid-week at MVC leader Loyola, but rebounded with a 1-0 victory on its home turf Sunday afternoon over Evansville. Lauren Torhorst netted the decisive goal in the victory, while Georgia Henkel earned the shutout in goal.
Looking Ahead: The regular season comes to a close next Thursday, Oct. 31 with a 4 p.m. matchup with UNI at Brown Field.
Following the Brown and Gold: There will be no video broadcast of Saturday afternoon’s match. Live stats for the matchup with the Bulldogs will be available via ValpoAthletics.com.
Head Coach John Marovich: In his 12th season at the helm of the Brown and Gold, John Marovich holds a 97-92-31 (.511) 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: Drake holds a 4-0-1 advantage in the all-time series over Valpo. In the two meetings since Valpo joined the MVC, Drake earned a 4-2 win in Des Moines in 2017 and then scored a golden goal to hand Valpo a 1-0 defeat on Brown Field last season.
Scouting the Opposition: Drake enters Saturday afternoon’s match at 6-8-1 overall this year and is 3-2-0 in MVC play, currently fourth in the conference standings. The Bulldogs have won each of their last three matches after dropping consecutive matches to start MVC action, most recently earning a 1-0 home win over Indiana State. Nine different Bulldogs have combined to score 10 goals this year, with Olivia Bruce the only player to net multiple goals. Kelsie Stone has been in goal for all but 28 minutes and owns a 1.13 GAA and a .795 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.
A Glance at the Standings: With just two match days remaining in the MVC schedule, Valpo is right in the mix to make the conference tournament. Six teams make the event, and Valpo is currently tied with UNI on three points for sixth position. Indiana State currently sits in fifth place with four points, while Evansville has two points. The season finale will be a big matchup, as Valpo hosts UNI in a battle which could determine the final tournament spot.
Torhorst Picks Up the Winner: Junior Lauren Torhorst tallied the match-winning goal in Valpo’s win over Evansville on Sunday, scoring in the 25th minute for the lone goal in the 1-0 win. For Torhorst, it was her team-best third goal of the year, following her brace earlier in MVC play at Indiana State, and her first career match-winner among her five career goals.
Helping Out: Both of Valpo’s assists on the match’s lone goal in the win over Evansville were the players’ first points of the season. Senior Maria Broecker now has five career assists, four of which have come within MVC play - all four coming in wins or draws. Meanwhile, freshman Cierra Welch tallied her first career point with the secondary assist.
Clean Sheet From Georgia: It had been nearly a month since freshman goalkeeper Georgia Henkel had stepped foot in the goal mouth before she took the field Sunday, starting in goal for the first time in MVC play against Evansville. 90 minutes later, Henkel had picked up her first career shutout, keeping the Purple Aces off the board in the 1-0 win.
Strong Saves From Kez: Junior goalkeeper Kezia Gesell posted one of the top save totals in her career to help keep Valpo in the match against Illinois State. Facing a Redbird offense which entered the match among the top-20 in the nation in scoring offense, Gesell made 10 saves and surrendered just one goal - this after the Redbirds had netted eight goals in their first two MVC matches. Gesell’s 10 saves matched an MVC single-match high this year and are the most to date in a conference match. It is the second time in her career Gesell has registered a double-figure save total, trailing just the 12 stops she made last year, coincidentally also against Illinois State.
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, with most matches featuring at least five rookies and seven underclassmen. The win over Evansville featured six freshmen starters - tying the most in a single match this year - and eight underclassmen in all.