Coming off one of the best defensive seasons in program history, the Valpo soccer team opened the fall 2021 campaign with another strong defensive effort Thursday evening in Bloomington, holding host Indiana off the board for the first three-quarters of the match before the Hoosiers struck for the match’s lone goal in the 70th minute for a 1-0 final.
How It Happened
- The Hoosiers tested the Valpo defense early, but sophomore goalkeeper Nikki Coryell (Aurora, Ill./Metea Valley) was up to the task with a pair of saves in the first seven minutes.
- Valpo was able to get a quick counter off the second early save from Coryell, resulting in a shot on goal from senior Alexis Gaffney (Broomfield, Colo./Legacy) which was stopped by IU goalkeeper Jamie Gerstenberg.
- Junior Natalie Graf (Williamsburg, Mich./St. Francis) put an effort on frame in the 18th minute which Gerstenberg saved.
- Coryell would end up making three saves in the first half to keep the match scoreless at intermission, stopping one more try on goal in the 40th
- Indiana broke onto the scoreboard at the 69:41 mark, as Jordyn Levy touched home a pass over the top inside the left post.
- The Beacons’ best chance late came as it earned a corner kick in the 80th minute, but the shot which ensued off that corner from junior Kiley Dugan (Irwin, Pa./Penn-Trafford) was blocked.
Inside the Match
- Thursday marked just the second all-time meeting between Valpo and IU, with the only previous meeting a 5-0 Hoosier win in 1996.
- This was Valpo’s first matchup with any Big Ten program since a 2-0 defeat at Northwestern early in the 2015 campaign.
- Valpo’s opponent Thursday featured a back three and a goalkeeper who have all competed for their native countries’ youth national teams internationally at the U-19 level.
- Indiana was picked to finish sixth in the Big Ten this season after a spring campaign where it tied a program record for conference victories, set a school record for points in a season and were ranked in the top-25 for the first time since 2013.
- After playing five 1-0 contests last season, the Beacons opened the fall season with that exact result Thursday.
- Coryell has now surrendered one goal or fewer in 14 of her 15 career starts and in 12 consecutive fixtures.
- Dugan and fellow junior Nicole Norfolk (Menomonee Falls, Wis./Divine Savior Holy Angels) extended their consecutive matches started streaks to 33 matches apiece. Norfolk has now played 3,128 consecutive minutes in the field for Valpo since stepping on campus, less than 300 minutes shy of the known program record for consecutive minutes played.
- Junior transfer Allie Anderson (Wheaton, Ill./Wheaton Warrenville South [Xavier]) started and played all 90 minutes in her debut in the Brown and Gold, while freshman Abby White (Commerce Township, Mich./Walled Lake Central) earned the starting assignment in her first collegiate match.
- Anderson and White were two of six newcomers for the Beacons to see action in the season opener, as transfer Abbey Hillman (Naperville, Ill./Naperville Central [Loyola]) and freshmen Peyton Evans (Parker, Colo./Legend), Sam Gountounas (Tinley Park, Ill./Andrew) and Addy Joiner (Chesterton, Ind./Chesterton) all made appearances off the bench Thursday.
- The Hoosiers ended the match with a 13-3 edge in shot attempts and put five on goal to Valpo’s two. Indiana also held an 18-1 advantage in corner kicks.
Thoughts From Coach Marovich
“To have a game on the road against a Big Ten team and only lose 1-0, we're all super proud of the way we competed. We went 70 minutes before we gave away a goal.”
“We had spaces in the game tonight where we played really well, and other spaces in the game we didn't do so well. Overall, I feel like what we learned is that when we’re calm and composed on the ball, the way we want to play works really well.”
“We took a lot of pressure tonight, and the level of opponent we faced tonight will only make us better going forward. We walk out from tonight’s match knowing we competed and we found out a lot about ourselves, which is exactly what these early games are for.”
Valpo (0-1-0) opens the home slate on Sunday afternoon at Brown Field when it hosts Ball State at 1 p.m. Live stats for the match will be available via ValpoAthletics.com.