The Valpo soccer team is heading to the championship match of the 2023 MVC Tournament after a dramatic win in extra time Thursday afternoon in tournament semifinal action over Missouri State, as Abby White (Commerce Township, Mich./Walled Lake Central) scored directly from a corner kick in the 97th minute for the deciding tally in the Beacons’ 1-0 victory. Valpo will take the field in Des Moines, Iowa at 1 p.m. Sunday afternoon looking to win the tournament title and earn the MVC’s automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.
How It Happened
- Valpo held the Bears at bay throughout the first 45 minutes of action, as Nikki Coryell (Aurora, Ill./Metea Valley) was called upon to make just three simple saves in the first half. The Beacons earned a trio of corner kicks in the opening period, but were unable to find the back of the net as the match went into halftime scoreless.
- Coryell made her toughest save of the match less than 10 minutes into the second half, diving to her right to knock a shot from Gracie English inside the box wide of goal.
- Valpo started to flip the field on the Bears over the final 30 minutes of regulation and earned a number of strong chances at goal in the process. Lindsey DuSatko (Plainfield, Ill./North) took a rip from distance in the 68th minute to force MSU goalkeeper Camille Day into a save.
- Allie Anderson (Wheaton, Ill./Wheaton Warrenville South [Xavier]) took a shot from 20 yards out in the 77th minute that went just over the crossbar. Anderson had Valpo’s best scoring chance in regulation 10 minutes later as well, taking a free kick from 25 yards which forced Day to push it over the bar.
- The match entered extra time scoreless, but seven minutes into the first extra period of 10 minutes, that changed. Dana Fish (Sheboygan, Wis./Sheboygan North) won Valpo a corner, which White lined up over from the right side. The junior’s left-footed corner swung in towards the goal line, and while Day got a hand to it, she was unable to control it as the momentum carried it into the back of the net as Valpo took the 1-0 lead.
- With overtime postseason matches no longer being decided by golden goal rules, the goal didn’t clinch Valpo’s advancement to the title match, as the Beacons had to see out the one-goal lead for the final 12-plus minutes of extra time, which they did so successfully.
Inside the Match
- Valpo advances to the seventh tournament championship match in program history and its second since joining the Missouri Valley Conference, as the Beacons previously played for the title in the spring 2021 campaign.
- Valpo has won three postseason matches for the first time in program history.
- The victory was the Beacons’ 10th of the season, their 11th 10-win season in program history and the second time in the last three years.
- All three of Valpo’s tournament wins have come by 1-0 finals, the first time in program history it has won three straight matches by that identical 1-0 score.
- All four of Valpo’s all-time wins in the MVC Tournament have been 1-0 victories.
- The Beacons posted their third straight clean sheet, backstopped by Coryell, who tied the MVC career shutouts record on Thursday with her 27th shutout — matching former Missouri State goalkeeper Jackie Jasper.
- Coryell has eight shutouts on the season, tied for fourth in a single season in program history. She also moved up a pair of Valpo’s career charts on Thursday, as with 6,345 career minutes played, she ranks second all-time among Valpo goalkeepers and seventh among MVC goalkeepers.
- Coryell stopped seven shots in Thursday’s shutout and owns 294 career saves, third-most all-time at Valpo.
- The Beacons have played 317 minutes of soccer without conceding a goal.
- Thursday’s win came over a Missouri State side which had not lost in MVC regular season play and whose only defeat of the year had come against Missouri. The Bears had also surrendered just one goal in Valley play this season.
- For White, it was her first goal of the season, but her fourth career tally — three of which have been match-winners.
Thoughts From Coach Marovich
“So proud of the group’s performance today. A tournament semifinal is always going to be a battle, and I’m just so happy with their fight and grit to get the result.”
“I felt as we moved into the second half, certainly the last half of that period, we did a much better job with our first-pass possession so we didn’t get stuck pinned in. That caused us some trouble in the first 60 minutes of regulation, and we did a better job the last 30 minutes, allowing us more opportunities on the attack.”
“Once we got into overtime, it came down to can you create a moment? Set pieces are so critical for that — so many matches are won on them, and we ran one of our numerous corner plays and created that moment that was the difference.”
“When you're in really tough semifinal matches, it can come down to little moments and shifts that players come off the bench and contribute. Peyton did that tonight — she came in as a wide player, we asked her to do a couple things to help us defensively and help us build to get out, and she executed what we asked of her. Cass came in at the 10 and did some really good work. Dana wins us the corner that ends up creating our goal. After we had taken the lead, Sam helps us kill a good bit of time in overtime going to the corner. Those little things add up and are massive.”
Valpo (10-5-6) will play for the MVC title on Sunday afternoon at 1 p.m. in Des Moines, Iowa against either top-seeded Drake or fourth-seeded UIC. The match can be seen live on ESPN+.