The Valparaiso University men’s soccer team added to its unbeaten streak and picked up another point in the Missouri Valley Conference standings on Saturday night, playing to a 2-2 draw with Central Arkansas at Brown Field. All four goals came in the second half with Valpo jumping out to a two-goal edge before the Bears roared from behind to earn the eventual tie.
How It Happened
- Both goalkeepers were pressed into duty in the first eight minutes of the match. Michael Marchionna (Naperville, Ill. / Naperville Central) forced Central Arkansas goalkeeper Marc Olsen to make an early save in the fifth minute, then Nacho Miras (Ubeda, Spain / Nuestra Semora del Pilar) turned away a Kasper Andersen shot in the eighth minute.
- After the two sides exchanged saves early, neither team recorded a shot on goal for the remainder of the half. Through 45 minutes, the Bears held a narrow 5-4 edge in total shots. Dylan Waugaman (Houston, Texas / Friendswood [Oregon State]) struck two of Valpo’s four shots prior to halftime.
- Marchionna turned in a highlight-reel goal in the 52nd minute, hitting an impressive volley from 30 yards to snap the scoreless tie. Adan Garcia (Dallas, Texas / Episcopal School of Dallas) earned the assist.
- Garcia went from assisting to socring in the 67th minuteas he scored Valpo's goal on an assist by Rafael Mentzingen (Rio de Janiero, Brazil / Bryan).
- Central Arkansas had a chance to take a bite out of the lead in the 72nd minute, but a Miras save turned away a penalty kick by Niklas Brodacki. The PK was followed by an Andersen effort, with Miras also making that save.
- Central Arkansas got on the board in the 75th minute. Andersen was the goal scorer with Soren Jensen earning the assist.
- Just over two minutes later, Central Arkansas found the equalizer. Moiad Ankir notched a header goal with Christian Ilia and Daltyn Knutson picking up the assists.
- Valpo had a flurry of shots at the end of regulation, but couldn’t break the tie. The final six shots of regulation belonged to Valpo following the tying goal. Five of those six came in the 84th minute or later including a header by Marchionna that was high.
- The first shot on goal of overtime came from Lucca Lacerda (Passos, Brazil / Mercy College) in the 95th minute, but Olsen was there for the save. Olsen came up with another game-extending save in the 99th minute, this one on a shot from Garcia.
- All five shots in overtime were taken by Valpo, so the final 11 shots of the game belonged to the hosts following the equalizing goal by Central Arkansas (5-5-3, 2-1-1).
Inside the Game
- Marchionna’s goal was his second of the season. He and Mentzingen are the only Valpo players with multiple goals and multiple assists this year. Mentzingen and Marchionna both moved to six points this year on Saturday, tied for second on the team behind Lacerda's team-high seven.
- The last time Marchionna scored was the season’s opening night, also snapping a scoreless tie in that one. Then, it was a golden goal in the 104th minute against IUPUI.
- Garcia picked up an assist for the second straight game after he helped on a Lacerda goal in last week’s 2-0 win over Bradley. Garcia, who before last week didn’t have a point this season, has now collected seven assists and 27 points in his Valpo career.
- The Garcia goal was the 10th of his career and his first of this season.
- The four-game unbeaten streak is the program’s longest since six straight without a loss from Sept. 24 to Oct. 11, 2016.
- Valpo held the upper hand in the shot count on Saturday, outdoing the Bears 19-11 in that area. Valpo has not been outshot in the last seven games. Shots on goal favored Valpo 6-5.
- Mentzingen finished with a team-high five shots, while Miras had three saves.
Thoughts from Head Coach Mike Avery
“It was a difficult night to play with the cold and especially the wind, and I thought both teams did a reasonable job to combat the conditions. It's a two-sided coin for us as we look at this result. On one hand, we are disappointed because we should really be able to see out a two-goal lead. We switched off for a little bit, UCA took advantage, and we let them back in the game with some poor organization in our defending block. UCA is a talented attacking team and if you give them room, they will take advantage. We had been good all night, but a five-minute stretch rattled us.”
“On the positive side, though, we were able to settle back down and we looked more like the team that might win the game in overtime. It's a good point as we look at the conference standings, and we will need at least one more result out of our last two games to ensure a place in the tournament. Next weekend's game at Evansville shapes up to be a huge opportunity for both teams, so we will do our best in the coming days to prepare.”
Valpo (4-7-3, 1-1-2) will play the final road game of the season next week with a game at Evansville that begins at 5 p.m. CT. The fixture will be carried on ESPN3 and links to live video and stats will be available.