The Valpo soccer team closed out pre-conference action in style Sunday evening at the SeatGeek Stadium Turf Field in Bridgeview, Ill., putting together a dominant all-around performance in a 3-0 win over host Chicago State.
How It Happened
- Valpo was on the front foot from the start Sunday, recording a shot attempt just 20 seconds into the match.
- Valpo goalkeeper Georgia Henkel (Houston, Texas/Stratford) wasn’t tested often on Sunday, but did well with the Cougars’ lone shot on goal in the 11th minute, punching the CSU effort over the crossbar.
- The Beacons took the lead at the conclusion of a barrage at net in the 34th Freshman Dana Fish (Sheboygan, Wis./Sheboygan North) and junior Kiley Dugan (Irwin, Pa./Penn-Trafford) had shots turned away, but sophomore Cassidy Eckstein (Carmel, Ind./Carmel) found the ball at her feet just inside the top of the box and finished into the lower-right corner to put Valpo on top.
- Valpo doubled its lead just over a minute out from intermission. A push forward resulted in senior Katie Hansen (Lombard, Ill./Glenbard East [Montana]) taking a shot which beat the CSU goalkeeper, but ended up ricocheting off the left-hand post. The rebound came back into play and Fish, who was coming down the left, had an easy knock home to make it 2-0 Valpo.
- With the two-goal advantage, the second half was all Valpo, as it out-shot CSU 14-3 and did not surrender a shot on goal or a corner kick. The Beacons completed the 3-0 scoreline in the final minute, as freshman Peyton Evans (Parker, Colo./Legend) played a ball between the Cougar center backs for junior Cierra Welch (Beecher, Ill./Beecher), who took advantage of the 1-on-1 with the CSU goalkeeper and beat her inside the left-hand post.
Inside the Match
- The trio of Eckstein, Fish and Welch all netted their first collegiate goals on Sunday. It is the first known time in program history that three Valpo players have all scored their first collegiate goals in the same match.
- Not to be outdone, the assists by Hansen and Evans were the first collegiate point for both players as well.
- Henkel made her first start in goal for Valpo since the 2019 MVC Tournament and put in a strong performance, playing out of the back well in addition to making the one save. For Henkel, it was her third career clean sheet.
- The 3-0 win was Valpo’s second by the same scoreline over the last three matches.
- Valpo out-shot the Cougars 25-5, posting a season high in the shots department, and put eight shots on goal to CSU’s one. The Beacons also attempted seven corner kicks to two for CSU.
- 19 players saw action on Sunday afternoon, with 18 of those playing at least 26 minutes.
Thoughts From Coach Marovich
“I’m pleased with the performance of the team today. I’m super excited for Cass, Dana and Cierra to all score their first collegiate goal — I think it really shows the depth of our team and the number of scoring options we have.”
“I thought from the last part of the first half on, we really executed our game model very well. The group’s commitment to how we wanted to play never wavered, and it showed in the fact that we both had a lot of opportunities and only allowed a few shots.”
“We did a nice job getting through the game today and got the chance to get a lot of players some time on the park. I think we’ve done everything we’ve can to prepare for the conference season, and we look forward to that beginning Friday night.”
Valpo (3-4-1) opens MVC play Friday evening at Brown Field as the Beacons host Illinois State. Kickoff is slated for 7:30 p.m., and the match can be seen live on The Valley on ESPN.