An early two-goal deficit was
too much for the Valparaiso men’s soccer team to overcome Sunday afternoon at
Brown Field, as despite a late first-half goal by Kevin Miller (Jefferson City, Mo./Helias) in his Crusader debut,
Valpo fell to Saint Francis (Pa.) by a 2-1 count.
things caught up with us today - first, Saint Francis is a good team and scored
two very good goals early on that put us under some early pressure, and second,
our third game of the week had us not quite as sharp as we can be,” said
Crusader head coach Mike Avery.
“Full credit goes to Saint Francis, though.
They are a well-coached group that is tough in the middle of the back,
and when the game became one where we were chasing, the game played into their
two central defenders’ strengths.”
Red Flash needed very little time to gain its early advantage. In the game’s eighth minute, Sean O’Reilly
sent a ball into the box that Daniel Moir won the battle for against a Crusader
defender. Moir fired a shot from about
ten yards out that found its way into the lower right portion of the net to
give Saint Francis the lead.
less than three minutes later, the Red Flash struck again. David Butler set up Parnell Hegngi in the
middle-left portion of the field about 25 yards out. Hegngi fired a shot towards the upper left
corner that struck the underneath portion of the crossbar and ricocheted down
into the net to put Saint Francis ahead by two goals.
would get right back into the game in the latter stages of the first half,
however. Ken Perkins (Cedar Rapids, Iowa/Kennedy) played a service into the box from long
distance that Steve Shively (Indianapolis, Ind./North
Central) flicked on with his head. The
ball ended up on the forehead of Miller, who sent a header of his own past
charging Saint Francis netminder Darius Motazed from eight yards out for his
first career marker.
Crusaders had a golden opportunity for the equalizer just out of the halftime
break, as in the 50th minute they were awarded a penalty kick after
the Red Flash committed a foul in the box.
But Motazed came up big for Saint Francis, stopping the PK as well as a
well-struck shot from the angle right by Roby
Del Giudice (Toronto, Ont./Robert F. Hall [Wallace State C.C.]) three
minutes later to keep the Red Flash ahead.
Valpo had one last opportunity in the 89th minute, getting
the ball deep into Saint Francis territory, but a header from the middle of the
box could not find its way on frame.
Crusaders ended the game with a 17-12 advantage in the shots category over
Saint Francis (3-4-0), putting seven shots on goal to the Red Flash’s
four. Ryan Schwarz (Rockford,
Ill./Boylan Catholic) made two
saves in goal for Valpo, while Motazed stopped six shots in the winning effort.
all, though, I still feel we played well enough and created enough chances that
we could have taken more out of the result,” said Avery. “For the last
eighty minutes, I thought we were the better side, but in the first ten minutes
the game was decided. I am positive we'll learn some hard lessons from
this setback and be a better team for it in the long run. We end the
pre-league schedule 3-3 and with a better idea of who we are heading into
Valparaiso (3-3-0) kicks off Horizon League play this coming
Friday, as the Crusaders travel to take on Detroit.
Kickoff on the 25th is slated for 3 p.m. CDT, with live stats
available through www.valpoathletics.com.