The Valparaiso University women’s soccer team picked up its second road win in Missouri Valley Conference play on Saturday night in Chicago, prevailing over league-leading Loyola by a 2-1 final.
How It Happened
- A rather benign first half looked like it might end scoreless until the Crusaders took advantage of a set piece chance in the 37th minute. Redshirt sophomore Natalia Kontul (Solon, Ohio/Solon) took an in-swinging corner kick which deflected off a pair of Ramblers and into the back of the net to give Valpo the lead.
- Valpo doubled its advantage less than five minutes into the second half. Junior Sydney Griffin (Hinsdale, Ill./Hinsdale Central [New Hampshire]) intercepted a clearance attempt just outside the box and fed fellow junior Cory Griffith (Lemont, Ill./Providence Catholic), who was unmarked at the penalty spot. Griffith turned and sent a shot through Loyola goalkeeper Maddie Ford’s legs to double the Crusaders’ lead.
- Up by two goals, the Crusaders had to withstand pressure from the Loyola attack. The Ramblers would pull one back in the 75th minute as Jenna Szczesny put home a rebound, but Valpo goalkeeper Drew Moulton (Sycamore, Ill./Sycamore) stopped a trio of shots in the final 11minutes to close out the victory.
Inside the Match
- Valpo has six points through three conference games, all of which have been played on the road. The Crusaders conclude the season with three of their final four at Brown Field, where they are a perfect 5-0-0 on the year.
- The meeting between Valpo and Loyola was the 25th in the all-time series, as the Ramblers have been the Crusaders’ most-common opponent. Valpo has won the last four meetings in the series.
- Kontul’s goal in the first half was her first career goal and came in her 27th game in a Crusader uniform. She has registered five points on the season, fourth-most on the team.
- Griffith’s goal was her sixth of the year, tying her with Griffin for team-high honors. The junior has tallied 16 career goals to move into seventh in program history.
- Griffith’s tally also ended up as the match-winning goal, her fourth game-winner of the year – just one shy of her own Valpo single-season record which she set last season. With nine career match-winners, Griffith’s next such goal will tie her for tops in program history.
- Griffin picked up her fourth assist of the year on Griffith’s goal, moving her into a tie atop the Crusader charts this year.
- Moulton improved to 6-2-0 on the year in goal, making five saves in the win. She dropped her GAA to 1.07 and bumped her save percentage up to .818.
Thoughts From Coach Marovich
"It's massive to be able to get three points in road games conference play, so we're really excited to come out with all three points tonight. We got a great group effort, and I felt our team defending was outstanding - we really did a nice job of keeping the game in front of us."
"Individually, across the board, we had players step up and do what they needed to do to put us in a position to win. I thought Sydney Griffin was really good tonight with her defending and her ability to keep possession. She made some very good decisions with the ball."
"It was nice to get a goal off the corner kick, and then vital to have Cory be able to pick up a second goal to give us the two-goal cushion, which in the end was something we needed."
"Road wins are difficult, and to get a second road win this early in the conference season is big. We're looking forward to prepping for another tough Valley test against UNI next weekend."
Valpo (8-6-0, 2-1-0 MVC) returns home to Brown Field next Saturday evening as the Crusaders host UNI at 7 p.m. A link for live stats will be available via ValpoAthletics.com.