It was a victorious ending to the regular season home schedule at Brown Field Saturday night for the Valpo soccer team, as sophomore Kelsie James (Carmel, Ind./Carmel) scored a brace which held up for a 2-1 victory over visiting Evansville. The victory extended the Beacons’ unbeaten streak to nine consecutive matches and gave the team its 10th win of the season.
How It Happened
- Like many great goal scorers do, James was able to take advantage of an opportunity to go for goal which fell into her lap in the 17th 35 yards upfield, Evansville goalkeeper Michaela Till hit a low line drive which hit a turning James, just over 15 yards away. James took a pair of touches and unleashed a strike with her right foot from 50 yards which carried over the head of Till and bounced home into the open net to give Valpo the 1-0 lead.
- Valpo’s second goal of the night came in the 26th minute and was the antithesis of the first, as it was a complete team move which originated in the back with goalkeeper Nikki Coryell (Aurora, Ill./Metea Valley). Junior Kiley Dugan (Irwin, Pa./Penn-Trafford) carried the ball across midfield and fed it to senior Morgen Metzger (Grand Blanc, Mich./Grand Blanc), who laid it back off to Dugan. Dugan then sent the ball out wide to the right to senior Peyton Flynn (Poplar Grove, Ill./Belvidere North), who first-time crossed it perfectly into the center of the box, where James was there to head it inside the far post to double Valpo’s lead.
- Evansville cut the lead in half in the 72nd minute, with Emily Olson finding the back of the net. The Purple Aces had three shot attempts after their goal, but none of them were on frame as Valpo closed out the victory.
Inside the Match
- Saturday’s win gives Valpo 10 wins on the season, the 10th time in program history the squad has reached the 10-win mark. This is the fifth time Valpo has won at least 10 matches under head coach John Marovich.
- The Beacons extended their unbeaten streak to nine consecutive matches (8-0-1), the second-longest such streak in program history. Only the 2014 side, which went 18 straight without a defeat, had a longer stretch without losing.
- James moved into Valpo’s single-season top-10 charts in both goals and points with her brace on Saturday. With nine goals this year, she is tied for seventh in a single season in program history, just two away from the program’s single-season record of 11 goals. Her 21 points are also tied for seventh in a season.
- James’ second brace of the year also extended her MVC-best marks for both goals and points.
- Flynn’s assist on James’ second goal was the second of her career, while Dugan picked up her second assist of the season with the secondary helper on that tally.
- Coryell made four saves and surrendered just the one goal in preserving the victory. The goal scored by the Purple Aces was just the second Valpo has given up in conference play this season and snapped a streak of 408 consecutive shutout minutes — the team’s second streak of at least 400 minutes of shutout soccer this year.
Thoughts From Coach Marovich
“I’m really pleased with the performance of our group tonight.”
“Certainly in the first 45 minutes, we progressed the ball well, built well and had really creative movement in the attacking third, some of our best ideas in that area this season. We had a lot of good combinations, and somewhat unfortunate we didn’t get a third goal because we really created some really good chances.”
“As the match progressed, we saw an Evansville side which was competing hard, fighting for a tournament berth. They really put us under a different kind of pressure in the second half. We didn't adjust as smoothly as we would like to that pressure — we gave away a goal, but responded well to finish the game off.”
“We’re now set up for a wonderful opportunity on Thursday at Loyola to play for an MVC championship. We’re proud to represent our University, our athletic department and everyone in the campus community as we have the chance for the second time this calendar year to try to bring home a Valley title.”
Valpo (10-4-2, 6-0-1 MVC) enters Thursday afternoon at Loyola tied with the Ramblers at 19 points atop the MVC standings. A draw gives the Beacons a share of the Valley regular season title, while a win gives Valpo the outright title, the number one seed for the MVC Tournament and hosting rights for the semifinals and championship match. Thursday’s match can be seen live on ESPN+, with a 4 p.m. kickoff.