In a battle between two of the top sides in the Missouri Valley Conference Thursday evening at Brown Field, the Valpo soccer team took less than six minutes to equalize the match after Southern Illinois had taken the lead in the second half as the night ended with a 1-1 draw. The result leaves the Beacons with an opportunity to potentially win the MVC regular season title on Sunday.
How It Happened
- The teams played to a scoreless opening 45 minutes. Valpo had the better of the half statistically, owning 61% possession, outshooting the Salukis 8-3 and taking four corner kicks to SIU’s zero.
- The Salukis did have a free kick from distance early on that hit the crossbar, and another a few minutes later on which junior Nikki Coryell (Aurora, Ill./Metea Valley) handled for her lone save of the first half.
- SIU took the lead 17 minutes into the second half, as Liz Brechtel hit a shot from 20 yards out that floated into the upper-left corner of the goal, just over the hand of an outstretched Coryell.
- Valpo bounced back with the equalizer in the 67th minute directly from a set piece. Junior Kelsie James (Carmel, Ind./Carmel) delivered a corner kick right into the center of the six-yard box and fellow junior Lindsey DuSatko (Plainfield, Ill./North) took care of the rest, getting free to flick in a header to make it a 1-1 match.
- The action was fast and furious, up and down the pitch over the final stretch of the match as both teams pushed, looking for the winning goal. But all the action led to just one official shot attempt in the last 15 minutes, an SIU free kick taken towards goal that was well over the crossbar as the match ended in a draw.
Inside the Match
- Valpo extended its unbeaten streak to five consecutive matches with Thursday’s draw. It is the 10th time in program history that Valpo has gone at least five straight matches without suffering a defeat.
- Thursday was the third consecutive match that the Beacons have rallied after falling behind. After starting the year 0-6-0 when conceding first, Valpo is 2-0-1 in its last three when doing so.
- DuSatko’s goal was her first of the season and the seventh of her career.
- James moved up both Valpo’s single-season and career assists charts with the helper off the corner. She is now tied with Allie Anderson (Wheaton, Ill./Wheaton Warrenville South [Xavier]) with five assists on the year, tied for fourth-most in a season in program history. Her career total is up to 11 assists, which is also tied for fourth-most all-time by a Valpo player.
- With 35 career points, James sits just one point away from cracking that top-five chart as well.
- Valpo has surrendered either one or zero goals in 25 of its last 26 MVC regular season matches.
Thoughts From Coach Marovich
“Obviously it was disappointing not to get three points tonight, but not disappointed with the performance of the team. It’s just part of being in Valley play — it’s a war.”
“I’m proud of the resiliency of our group to come back and get a tying goal after conceding the first goal. It goes to the spirit and the mindset of this group, being able to manage through difficult moments.”
“I thought some of the flank play we had tonight between Lindsey and Abbey was very good, and Lindsey’s goal on the corner was outstanding. We did a lot of really good things, just needed to be better on the last pass.”
“Tonight didn’t go our way, but we’re not going to let it define who we are. We’re still alive for a championship heading into the last day, and that’s all we can ask for. We’ll re-focus, come out on Sunday, go after three points and then see how the rest of the games play out.”
Valpo (7-6-4, 6-1-2 MVC) takes to Brown Field for the regular season finale Sunday at noon against Indiana State. The Beacons can almost assuredly clinch the two seed with a draw, will clinch a top-two seed with a win and could still claim the regular season title with a win and a Missouri State loss at Illinois State. Sunday’s match can be seen live on ESPN3.