Facing a one-goal deficit early in the second half on Friday evening in Green Bay, Wis., the Valparaiso University women’s soccer team rallied with a pair of goals, with redshirt junior Ava Porlier (Downers Grove, Ill./South) connecting on the match-winner in the 83rd minute to give Valpo a 2-1 victory over Green Bay in both teams’ season opener.
How It Happened
- Valpo had the better of play in the first half, out-shooting the Phoenix 11-5 and putting six shots on goal, but Green Bay goalkeeper Courtney Klatt made all six saves as the match into the half scoreless.
- The Phoenix took the lead in the 48th minute, as Green Bay’s McKayla Kertscher was able to get between defenders in the box and head in a free kick.
- Valpo leveled the match in the 62nd minute. Senior Sydney Griffin (Hinsdale, Ill./Hinsdale Central [New Hampshire]) crossed a ball from deep on the left side into the box, where a Green Bay defender headed it backwards and over the head of Klatt in goal for an own goal to make it a 1-1 scoreline.
- It was Porlier who came up with the critical goal in the 83rd minute, less than six minutes after re-entering the match. Sophomore Keegan Maris (Batavia, Ill./Batavia) won a 50-50 ball in the midfield and played a ball forward between defenders, where Porlier ran onto it and sent a shot from just outside the edge of the area inside the left-hand post, beating Klatt near side to put Valpo ahead 2-1.
- The Crusaders held onto the one-goal lead for the duration, as Green Bay got just one shot attempt, which was blocked, in the closing minutes.
Inside the Match
- Valpo won its season opener for the second straight season, following a stretch of three straight losses in season openers.
- The win over the Phoenix was Valpo’s first when opening a season on the road since the 2010 squad won at UMKC in its season opener.
- Valpo now owns five consecutive wins over Green Bay dating back to 2014 and has not lost to the Phoenix in the last 13 meetings between the two sides.
- Porlier’s goal was just the third of her Valpo career – her previous two tallies came in the same game in September of 2016 at Western Michigan.
- Valpo closed the game with a 16-13 advantage in shots and put 10 efforts on goal to Green Bay’s four. Sophomore Kezia Gesell (Winnipeg, Manitoba/Glenlawn Collegiate Institute) made three saves in goal to earn the victory.
Thoughts From Coach Marovich
"I'm just really proud of our group tonight - we put together a quality performance from a soccer standpoint. The way we played the first half was quite nice, moving the ball well, setting the ball and keeping possession. We just couldn't capitalize in the first 45, but then when we fell behind in the second half, our group was resilient and did a great job in responding. We fought to get the equalizer, and then we put Ava in late to give us some minutes at the number nine, and she came up with the game winner."
"I thought our back five did a really good job tonight, including Kez in goal. They were well organized and really did a nice job of getting across attackers' bodies to win the ball and then keep possession. I also thought our sevens and elevens in the twos and threes really interconnected well, played well creating width through the half space and created some nice 1-2 combinations down the flank."
"I'm really pleased with the development of our team so far, 17 days into camp. We're starting to put some things together, soccer-wise. Everybody who played tonight, even those who were on the bench, was a champion of their role. This was really a cultural win for us tonight to come from behind, and a testament to the will and desire of our players. We'll get into recovery, get after it and come back Sunday and try to cap the road trip with another win."
Valpo (1-0-0) looks to close out a perfect road trip on Sunday afternoon at Eastern Illinois. Kickoff against the Panthers is slated for 1 p.m., with live stats available via ValpoAthletics.com.