The Valpo soccer team showed its ability to bounce back from adversity Friday evening on the road against Duquesne as pre-conference play continued, as after the Dukes had scored back-to-back second-half goals to turn a 1-0 halftime scoreline into a 2-1 lead, the Beacons regrouped and eventually took advantage of a wonderfully struck free kick from sophomore Kelsie James (Carmel, Ind./Carmel) to equalize the match in what turned out to be a 2-2 draw. James scored both of Valpo’s goals in the tie for her first career brace.
How It Happened
- Valpo jumped on top in the 17th minute Friday. Sophomore Lindsey DuSatko (Plainfield, Ill./North) slashed inside off a run down the left-hand side and delivered a perfect pass along the ground to a cutting James. James stepped over a tackle attempt from a Duquesne defender and finished along the ground inside the right-hand post from 12 yards out to put the Beacons on top.
- The match entered halftime with Valpo on top by a 1-0 score.
- Duquesne came out and was the aggressor early in the second half, registering six shot attempts in a span of just over four minutes from the 54th minute through the 58th Valpo goalkeeper Nikki Coryell (Aurora, Ill./Waubonsie Valley) made three saves during that stretch to keep the Beacons in front.
- The Dukes broke through for their first goal in the 59th minute, as Jaimi Araujo directed home a cross from the right with her left foot to make it a 1-1 match.
- Duquesne continued to push, recording four shot attempts over the next five minutes. It took the lead on the fourth of those, when Emma Bundy put home a rebound from close range in the 64th minute in a scramble in the box following a free kick.
- Down 2-1, Valpo successfully regrouped. The Beacons’ defense didn’t surrender a shot attempt to the Dukes over the final 25 minutes of regulation.
- Meanwhile, on the offensive side, one perfectly struck ball from James was all Valpo needed to knot up the match. The sophomore lined up a free kick from the left flank in the 80th minute, and her effort from 30 yards out seemingly had a magnet to the upper-right 90, crashing into the net with pace to make it a 2-2 contest.
- Valpo had the better of the final minutes, trying to find the match-winner late. The Beacons registered five shot attempts over the final eight minutes of regulation, two of which were saved by Dukes goalkeeper Megan Virgin.
- Valpo out-shot Duquesne 6-3 in extra time and had the best chance of the 20 minutes of overtime, as James narrowly missed closing out a hat trick in a golden way in the 107th minute with a shot off the right-hand post.
Inside the Match
- James’ brace was the first of her career. She now has six goals in 17 career matches, and with her three goals this year, has already matched her freshman year total.
- Incredibly, James now has five goals in six career matches against non-MVC opponents.
- James’ brace was the first by a Valpo player since Lauren Torhorst tallied twice versus UNI in the 2019 regular season finale.
- DuSatko’s assist was the first of her career.
- James finished the match with nine shot attempts, six of which were on goal — a microcosm of a match which was pretty wide open on both sides.
- Valpo closed the night with a 22-18 advantage in shots, while Duquesne put 11 efforts on goal to the Beacons’ 10.
- Coryell made nine saves in goal to match her career high, while Virgin stopped eight shots for the Dukes.
- For the third consecutive match, Valpo went with the same starting XI, extending consecutive matches started streaks to 35 straight matches for juniors Kiley Dugan (Irwin, Pa./Penn-Trafford) and Nicole Norfolk (Menomonee Falls, Wis./Divine Savior Holy Angels).
- Norfolk’s consecutive minutes played streak reached 3,328 straight minutes Friday. If she goes a full 90 on Sunday, Norfolk will surpass Tracy Roos for the program’s known record for consecutive minutes played by a field player.
- Junior Cierra Welch (Beecher, Ill./Beecher) made her first appearance since Nov. 4, 2019 on Friday evening with 23 minutes of action off the bench.
Thoughts From Coach Marovich
“I thought our effort tonight was outstanding. Playing on road, against an A-10 team, we had a 57-43 advantage in possession. At this time of year, I’m focused on how our group is progressing, and I’m very pleased right now with how our team is growing and moving forward.”
“We did a really good job of playing how we want to play in the first half. We were composed, we dealt with pressure and we were progressing the ball through the middle of the park. We got the ball into creative gaps, got ourselves a goal and had a couple of other good chances.”
“In the start of the second half, we got away from our play. We got away from connecting play and we let the game get chaotic. We allowed Duquesne to create head balls, they forced us to play fast and forced us away from putting passes together. Unfortunately, we paid the price — but the response was fantastic. We settled the game back down, got back into our rhythm, and were able to equalize on an absolutely spectacular goal from Kelsie.”
“I thought Allie Anderson was fantastic tonight. She stepped into the midfield in the second half and really influenced the game — she had personality in her performance. She was a major help in us being able to have the better of the game and creating more chances down the stretch in regular time and into extra time.”
“We will recover tomorrow and get ourselves ready for Sunday, and then we go again. This is about the long haul, and I like how the team is moving forward.”
Valpo (0-2-1) closes out its two-match swing in western Pennsylvania on Sunday afternoon at noon CT versus Robert Morris. The game will be broadcast live on ESPN+.