Valparaiso (1-1-2, 0-0-0 MVC)
Friday, Sept. 2 - Chicago State (0-4-0) - 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, Sept. 4 - at Ball State (0-2-2) - noon CT
Next Up in Valpo Soccer: Halfway through the non-conference slate, the Valpo soccer team makes a stop back at Brown Field for a home match Friday evening against Chicago State before a quick road trip to Muncie for a Sunday afternoon showdown against Ball State.
Previously: The Beacons posted a 0-1-1 record on their Colorado road trip last weekend, falling 3-0 at #25 Colorado before drawing 1-1 with Northern Colorado thanks to a goal from Dana Fish.
Looking Ahead: The non-conference schedule comes to an end next weekend with a pair of matches on Brown Field, as Valpo welcomes Purdue Fort Wayne on Friday night and Bowling Green on Sunday afternoon. The latter match will serve as the program’s Senior Day match.
Following the Beacons: The Chicago State match will be broadcast live on ESPN3. All nine of Valpo’s home matches are slated for broadcast on The Valley on ESPN (ESPN+ or ESPN3), while select road matches will be broadcast as well.
Head Coach John Marovich: In his 15th season at the helm of the Valpo program, John Marovich holds a 114-106-40 (.515) 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: Chicago State - Valpo has won all three meetings in the series history against the Cougars. Last season, Valpo claimed a 3-0 win in Bridgeview, Ill., as Cassidy Eckstein, Dana Fish and Cierra Welch found the back of the net and Georgia Henkel posted a clean sheet.
Ball State - Valpo owns a 4-2-0 advantage all-time over the Cardinals, but it was BSU which came out victors at Brown Field last season in the first meeting since 2009, 3-1. The Cardinals took advantage of a pair of penalty kicks in that fixture. Kelsie James was responsible for the Beacons’ goal.
Scouting the Opposition: Chicago State - The Cougars enter Friday’s match at 0-4-0 on the season, most recently falling in a neutral-site match on Monday to North Dakota State, 4-1. CSU interim head coach Aulani Fernandez spent this past spring on staff at Valpo as a volunteer assistant.
Ball State - The Cardinals enter this week at 0-2-2, with a pair of scoreless draws against Queens and Indiana on their resume. Ball State was picked to finish in a tie for seventh place in the Mid-American Conference preseason poll.
Valpo Picked Atop Preseason Poll: The Beacons will be the hunted rather than the hunter this season, as Valpo was chosen atop the MVC preseason poll. Valpo gathered eight out of 11 potential first-place votes and totaled 116 out of 121 potential points, 22 points clear of second-placed Indiana State in the poll. Notably, the program has matched or surpassed its preseason projection in each of its first five seasons in the Valley.
Quartet of Preseason Honorees: Plenty of individual standouts have helped Valpo get to the point where it is the preseason Valley favorite, and four of them were honored with preseason All-MVC accolades. Seniors Kiley Dugan and Nicole Norfolk were joined by juniors Nikki Coryell and Kelsie James as preseason honorees. Valpo topped all MVC schools with four members of the preseason All-Conference squad.
Looking Back at Last Season: Valpo put together its best season since joining the Valley last fall, finishing the year with a 10-6-2 overall record and a 6-1-1 mark in Valley play to finish in second place in the standings. The Beacons went unbeaten in their first seven MVC fixtures, part of a nine-match unbeaten streak - the second-longest such streak in program history. Eight players earned postseason awards from the MVC, highlighted by the selection of Nikki Coryell as MVC Goalkeeper of the Year for a second straight season. Kelsie James joined Coryell on the All-MVC First Team, while James and Kiley Dugan were both Second Team All-Region selections.
What’s Back and What’s New: Valpo returns 20 letterwinners from last season’s MVC runner-up squad, including nine starters. Joining the fold this year are six newcomers - five freshmen and one transfer.
Finding the Scoresheet Again: Sophomore Dana Fish tied for second on the team as a rookie last season with a trio of goals over 12 appearances as a reserve, and picked up right where she left off this past Sunday in her second match off the bench this season. Fish entered the match at Northern Colorado in the 28th minute and headed home a corner kick from Allie Anderson 13 minutes later. Last year, Fish’s first goal started a stretch where she picked up three goals and an assist over a four-match span. Fish’s four career goals have come in just 374 total minutes of action, as she averages a goal every 93.5 minutes.
Helping Out: Senior Allie Anderson delivered the assist on Fish’s goal at Northern Colorado with a well-taken corner kick. It was the third assist in Anderson’s two seasons at Valpo and the second which has come off of a set piece.
New Season, Same Weekly Honors: It’s become a habit for Valpo to pick up weekly awards from the MVC over the last few seasons, and that continued after opening weekend as goalkeeper Nikki Coryell was named the MVC Defensive Player of the Week after posting a pair of clean sheets. Coryell, whose four saves included a diving effort in the final seconds to preserve the 0-0 draw at EIU Aug. 18, is now tied for fourth in program history with 14 career shutouts and is just one clean sheet away from becoming the 18th player in MVC history with 15 or more clean sheets.
Coryell has now been named MVC Defensive Player of the Week five times, tying her with Kelsie James (two Offensive, three Freshman) for the second-most prolific weekly award winner in program history, trailing only Lori Moore (1999-2002), who was a six-time Mid-Continent Conference Player of the Week. Valpo has had at least one MVC weekly award winner in seven of the last nine weeks of regular season play dating back to last year and has 16 weekly award recipients since the start of the spring 2021 campaign.
Dugan and James Team Up: The pair of Kiley Dugan and Kelsie James teamed up for Valpo’s match-winner Aug. 21 against Youngstown State. Dugan finished off the move with the goal in the 74th minute ‑ her third career tally, first since March 19, 2021 and her first career match-winner. Meanwhile, James picked up the assist - the seventh of her career, five of which have come on match-winning goals.
The First Time: Freshman Molly O’Rear was the lone Beacon to make her debut in a Valpo uniform in the season opener at EIU, as she started and played all 90 minutes. Against YSU, sophomore Sam Gountounas made her first career start, while freshman Sarah Epstein came off the bench for her collegiate debut and transfer Andrea Garcia saw her first regular season action at Valpo. Last weekend, sophomore Emma Morrison made the first start of her collegiate career at Colorado.
National Recognition: Senior Kiley Dugan and junior Kelsie James both earned preseason recognition on a national level as well, as both were named preseason Players to Watch by United Soccer Coaches. The preseason Players to Watch lists are being released for the first time this season by the Division I All-America Committees to promote college soccer leading up to the official start date for the regular season. The lists include United Soccer Coaches All-Americans and first or second team All-Region players from 2021 who are scheduled to return for the 2022 season.
Coryell Between the Pipes: The two-time reigning MVC Goalkeeper of the Year, junior goalkeeper Nikki Coryell is back for her third season in net for the Beacons. Coryell posted an 8-6-2 record with a 1.15 GAA and an .819 save percentage a season ago and registered five solo shutouts, all of which came within MVC play. Coryell led the conference in MVC-only play in save percentage (.865), tied for the top spot in MVC-only action in shutouts and ranked third against conference foes in GAA (0.85). Also a two-time First Team All-MVC selection and a Third Team All-Region honoree last season, she already is tied for second in program history in career GAA (0.85) and ranks fifth in shutouts (12).
Dugan Gets It Done: A consistent presence up front for the Beacons, senior Kiley Dugan returns at forward. A Second Team All-MVC and Second Team All-Region choice last season, Dugan started all 18 matches and played the most minutes of any Valpo forward. She registered a pair of assists on the year, including a helper on the match-winning goal in the regular-season win over Evansville.
James Leads the Attack: Junior Kelsie James has cemented herself not only as one of the top attackers in the MVC, but as one of the top forwards in the Midwest. A First Team All-MVC choice and Second Team All-Region selection last season, James led the Valley last season with nine goals - becoming the first player in program history to lead the conference in goals. She also tied for the MVC best with 22 points, ranking sixth in a single season in program history in points and seventh in goals. James stepped up her game in conference-only action, pacing all MVC players in both goals (5) and match-winning goals (3).
Norfolk Anchors the Back Line: Senior Nicole Norfolk has been a rock in the center of Valpo’s back line ever since stepping on campus. A Second Team All-MVC selection last season, Norfolk set a program record for a field player by playing 3,591 consecutive matches to start her career before being subbed out late in a September win over St. Bonaventure. Norfolk went the distance in 16 of Valpo’s 18 matches last season and was part of a defensive unit which recorded eight clean sheets, five of which came in MVC play.
DuSatko Runs Up Top: Junior Lindsey DuSatko picked up Second Team All-MVC recognition a season ago despite missing three of Valpo’s eight conference fixtures. She ranked second on the team in both goals (3) and points (8). Two of DuSatko’s three goals came in conference play — the match-winner in extra time at Indiana State and the opening goal in Valpo’s win at Missouri State.
More on Last Year’s Awards: Coryell and James were the only two underclassmen to earn First Team All-MVC honors, while Valpo led the conference with five honorees between the first team and the second team. The last time Valpo had five players earn first or second team honors in the same season came back in 2005 in the Mid-Con.
Wait, There’s Even More!: In all, eight players earned postseason accolades from the Valley last year. Senior Natalie Graf was an Honorable Mention All-MVC choice, as she showcased her versatility, playing the third-most minutes among Valpo field players and seeing action at both defensive midfielder and center back. Dana Fish and Abby White represented the Beacons on the All-Freshman Team - Fish scored three goals, including match-winners against Illinois State and Southern Illinois, while White slotted in at left back from the season’s onset and played the second-most minutes among field players.
Always in the XI: Three players started all 18 matches for Valpo a season ago: Kiley Dugan, Nicole Norfolk and Abby White. All three have started each of this season’s first four matches as well. In their fourth season in the Valpo uniform, Dugan and Norfolk have both started all 54 matches since stepping on campus.