It will be a happy journey home after a perfect fall break trip for the Valparaiso University men’s soccer team.
Senior Lucca Lacerda (Passos, Brazil / Mercy College) provided Valpo’s first brace of the season on Saturday night to highlight a key 2-0 Missouri Valley Conference road win over Bradley. Valpo has won back-to-back games for the first time this year and has gone undefeated over the last seven days at 2-0-1.
How It Happened
- It didn’t take long for Valpo to force Bradley goalkeeper Albert Reinwart to make his first save of the game as Michael Marchionna (Naperville, Ill. / Naperville Central) placed a shot on goal in the fifth minute. Nacho Miras (Ubeda, Spain / Nuestra Semora del Pilar) was pressed into duty shortly thereafter as he made his first save of the night on a shot by Brad Bell in the sixth minute.
- Lacerda took advantage as the ball popped out after a cleared cross and finished from 15 yards out for his first goal of the night in the 17th minute.
- Reinwart made a save on a Lacerda shot in the 31st minute, but that only served to delay the impending brace rather than prevent it. Lacerda’s second goal of the evening came in the 47th minute on an impressive strike from 35 yards that found the side netting, beating the keeper to the right. Adan Garcia (Dallas, Texas / Episcopal School of Dallas) was the recipient of the assist.
- Miras kept it 2-0 when he saved a Younes Dayekh shot in the 64th minute.
Inside the Game
- Valpo (4-7-2, 1-1-1) has won consecutive games for the first time since last season’s three-game winning streak over Northern Illinois, Evansville and Western Illinois spanning Oct. 3-12.
- This was Valpo’s first win by multiple goals this season, a feat the team most recently accomplished on Oct. 30 of last year with a 3-1 triumph over Eastern Illinois. The last time Valpo won a conference game with a multi-goal cushion was on Oct. 29, 2016 against Northern Kentucky.
- This marked Valpo’s first win over Bradley since beating a nationally-ranked Braves team 1-0 in a 2008 neutral site match in Evansville.
- Lacerda became the first Valpo player to score two goals in a game since Rafael Mentzingen on Oct. 30, 2017. Lacerda has racked up three goals and seven points over the last two matches. He now leads the team in both categories with four goals and nine points.
- Garcia’s assist allowed him to gain his first point of the season. He now has six assists and 24 points in his Valpo career.
- Miras enjoyed his fourth shutout of the season and the fifth of his collegiate career. This also marked the fifth time Valpo has blanked the opposition in 2018. Valpo has permitted just one goal over three conference fixtures and has turned in clean sheets in each of its last two Valley games.
- Miras was credited with two saves to boost his season total to 33 and his career total to 95. Lacerda led Valpo with four shots.
- Valpo outshot Bradley (5-4-3, 0-4-0) 12-10 while a stingy Valpo defense permitted just two shots on frame. This was the third time this year Valpo has allowed two shots on goal or fewer.
- Seven Valpo players were on the pitch for all 90 minutes of Saturday’s victory.
Thoughts from Head Coach Mike Avery
“I want to give a special mention to Bradley University, their coach Jim DeRose, and his staff. Talk about a first class organization – not only do they have one of the nicest facilities in the country, but the hospitality they showed us was really appreciated. It’s not easy being on the road, and they made their facilities available to us and treated us so well. On the field they always compete with passion, but they keep everything else in the proper perspective.”
“I thought we played well tonight. We stood up to Bradley’s pressure when defending and scored two great goals - one of them of the world class variety. I’m very happy for the boys.”
“We’ve had a great fall break trip. Tonight was a perfect way to end it with a solid win over a good team, but this result was only one part of what makes the trip so valuable. Our guys will leave Valpo with two important things: a degree from a world class institution and friends that they’ll keep for the rest of their lives. We became a closer team these last few days. The stronger the relationship bonds are, the better team we become and, more importantly, the better friends we become.”
“We will get back tomorrow to campus, take a few days off to settle back into a routine with classes and recover physically, and then set our sights on next weekend’s game with UCA.”
Valpo (4-7-2) will be back home next week to battle Central Arkansas in another MVC showdown. The game kicks off at 7 p.m. CT at Brown Field and live stats and audio will be available on ValpoAthletics.com.