The Valpo soccer team continued its strong run in Missouri Valley Conference play on Sunday, scoring twice in the first half to take control of an eventual 3-0 win over visiting Evansville at Brown Field. The clean sheet — Valpo’s fifth in six MVC fixtures this year — was the 19th in the career of junior goalkeeper Nikki Coryell (Aurora, Ill./Metea Valley), moving her into the top-10 in MVC history in the category.
How It Happened
- Coryell was called into action early on Sunday, having to make a diving save inside of the first minute. The junior then controlled a shot from distance on a free kick in the eighth minute as well to keep the Purple Aces off the board.
- Valpo allowed just one shot the remainder of the half after the latter save, however, as the Beacons took control of a first half which ended with them enjoying 66% possession.
- The pressure from the Valpo attack finally paid off with the opening goal of the match in the 26th minute. Senior Allie Anderson (Wheaton, Ill./Wheaton Warrenville South [Xavier]) took a free kick from near midfield and sent it into the center of the box. Evansville goalkeeper Myia Danek leapt at it but was unable to secure it, and on the ensuing scramble, freshman Molly O’Rear (Naperville, Ill./Naperville Central) knocked it over the line to put the Beacons on top.
- Less than nine minutes later, Valpo doubled its advantage. Junior Lindsey DuSatko (Plainfield, Ill./North) possessed the ball to the end line, got her defender on her heels and cut back towards the middle of the field. She then laid off a pass to sophomore Addy Joiner (Chesterton, Ind./Chesterton) centrally about 15 yards from goal. With the pass slightly behind her, Joiner adjusted her body, leaned back and belted a right-footed shot into the upper-right corner to make it 2-0 Beacons.
- The Beacons put the match away with a goal in the 60th minute. In the run of play, Anderson put a ball over the top into the attacking third from the midfield where junior Kelsie James (Carmel, Ind./Carmel) ran freely onto it on the left-hand side. James took a touch into the box, and then 10 yards from goal, cut the ball back along the ground across the box. The pass rolled all the way through to the top-right corner of the box, where it found senior Abbey Hillman (Naperville, Ill./Naperville Central [Loyola]) — who had made a run from her right back position — for a first-time strike from 15 yards out into the upper-left corner to push the score to 3-0.
- While the three points were already secured in the 87th minute, the clean sheet was in peril as Valpo was whistled for a handball in the box. But Coryell put the cherry on top of the proverbial sundae with a diving save to her left on the penalty effort by the Purple Aces.
Inside the Match
- Valpo maintained its spot in second place in the MVC standings with 13 points through six conference matches, three points behind Missouri State with a game in hand on the Bears.
- The Beacons have surrendered just one goal in their six Valley matches, posting five shutouts in conference play so far.
- Coryell’s save on the late penalty kick was her fourth of the game to secure the clean sheet. She has recorded seven shutouts this season, tying her freshman year total and tied for sixth-most in a single season in program history.
- With 19 career shutouts, Coryell is now tied for 10th in MVC history and is one clean sheet shy of second place on Valpo’s career chart.
- Coryell and the Valpo defense have now finished with shutouts in 11 of their last 15 MVC regular season matches.
- O’Rear has connected on the match-winning goal in two of Valpo’s four Valley victories. All six of the freshman’s points, including a pair of assists as well, have come within MVC play.
- Joiner has found the back of the net four times this season, three of which have come in MVC matches.
- DuSatko’s assist on Joiner’s goal was her second of the year.
- Hillman opened her season account with the second-half insurance goal, becoming the ninth different Beacon to score a goal this season. She has two goals in her two seasons at Valpo.
- Anderson and James teamed up to help make Hillman’s goal happen and they continue to share team-high honors with four assists this season. James now owns 10 career assists, tied for sixth-most in program history.
- Valpo finished with a 16-7 edge in the shots department on Sunday and put six efforts on goal to Evansville’s four. The Beacons also had a 7-4 advantage in corner kicks.
Thoughts From Coach Marovich
“I thought that the movement of our front runners, specifically our 9s, was really good today. It allowed us to access mechanisms when we were able to possess in the attacking half that were very effective.”
“I’m really proud of our movement and spacing in each of the thirds of the field today. Our energy level and our work rate were very good across the board, and our players were rewarded for that. It was fantastic to see Nikki make a great save on a PK to keep the shutout as well.”
“In the Valley, every single game is massive and is going to be a challenge. We’ll take 24 hours to enjoy this win before starting preparations for a big trip to Nashville this week.”
Valpo (5-6-3, 4-1-1 MVC) plays its next two fixtures away from home, starting with a Thursday evening match at Belmont. Kickoff from Belmont is slated for 6:30 p.m. and the match can be seen live on ESPN+.