The Valparaiso University women’s soccer team put on a show for its home fans in the season finale Thursday afternoon at Brown Field, as Valpo struck for four goals in the final 16 minutes to close out a 5-1 victory in MVC play over Indiana State. Fittingly, all five of Valpo’s goals came from seniors on Thursday.
How It Happened
- A back-and-forth first half saw neither team able to crack the scoreboard until Valpo struck in the 41st minute. Senior Cory Griffith (Lemont, Ill./Providence Catholic) won possession on the edge of the attacking third and tapped a pass back to junior Maria Broecker (Rochester Hills, Mich./Rochester) before starting a run up the middle. Broecker sent a through ball to Griffith, who got between and behind the Indiana State center backs. Griffith beat ISU goalkeeper Hannah Sullivan to the ball and poked it over Sullivan’s slide toward goal. A last-ditch effort at clearing the ball off the line by a Sycamore defender was unsuccessful, as Valpo took a 1-0 lead into the locker room.
- Indiana State came out on the front foot in the second half, as Valpo would register just one shot attempt in the first 25 minutes of the period. Senior goalkeeper Drew Moulton (Sycamore, Ill./Sycamore) kept it a 1-0 lead in the 49th minute, leaping to punch an effort from Katie Wells just over the crossbar.
- The Sycamores tied the match at 1-1 in the 54th minute, as Wells was taken down in the box to earn a penalty kick. The senior stepped up and delivered a perfectly struck penalty to the lower right corner, just out of the reach of a diving Moulton, to tie the match.
- The woodwork on both ends got a workout in the middle of the second half. Wells sent a free kick from 35 yards out off the crossbar in the 65th minute. Six minutes later, on the other end, senior Sydney Griffin (Hinsdale, Ill./Hinsdale Central [New Hampshire]) had a long-range attempt of her own also ricochet back off the crossbar.
- A straight red card to an Indiana State player in the 74th minute put Valpo at an 11-v-10 advantage for the remainder of the game, and it took the Brown and Gold just 38 seconds to capitalize. Junior Ali Quillen (Beavercreek, Ohio/Beavercreek) won a free kick in the air with a header she sent 20 yards forward to Griffin. Griffin brought it down with one touch and slid a pass to Griffith, running down the left side. Griffith drove a shot along the ground from 25 yards out just inside the left post to complete her brace and make it 2-1 Valpo.
- Griffith’s second goal opened the floodgates for Valpo over the final stretch of action. In the 78th minute, a corner kick one-hopped over everybody to Quillen on the far side of the box. Quillen knocked it to senior Kelsey Jahn (Oregon, Wis./Oregon H.S.), who touched it down with her left foot and then half-volleyed it with her right foot from 10 yards out for her first goal of the season as Valpo led 3-1.
- Just over two minutes later, Valpo’s lead increased to 4-1 courtesy of senior Eva Schneider (Rocky River, Ohio/Rocky River). Schneider curled a ball towards the far side of the box to Griffin, along the end line. Griffin sent it back to the center of the box, where an Indiana State defender briefly gained possession before Schneider took it away and rifled a right-footed shot from 10 yards out just under the crossbar for her first career goal.
- Valpo concluded the scoring in the 87th minute, as Griffith played Griffin down the left-hand side. Griffin made sure she would get on the scoresheet this season, sending a left-footed shot into the upper-left 90 to make it 5-1 Valpo.
Inside the Match
- Thursday’s match marked the end of the careers of nine Valpo seniors. Griffin, Griffith, Jahn and Schneider accounted for Valpo’s five goals, as well as a pair of assists, while Ava Porlier (Downers Grove, Ill./South), Natalia Kontul (Solon, Ohio/Solon) and Caitlyn Oliver (Commerce Township, Mich./Walled Lake Northern) all started in the field as well. Moulton went the distance Thursday in goal, while fellow goalkeeper Tess Barrett (Tinley Park, Ill./Providence Catholic) – who has been sidelined due to injury – also was witnessing her final match as a team member.
- The five-goal effort matched Valpo’s highest-scoring output and the four-goal margin of victory was the program’s largest in a conference game since a 6-0 win at Youngstown State on Sept. 26, 2015. The five goals also matches Valpo’s most prolific game at home since netting six while hosting Lipscomb on Sept. 2, 2005.
- Jahn, Schneider and Griffin all picked up their first goals of the season in Thursday’s win. Schneider’s goal was also her first career tally, coming in her 28th match in a Valpo uniform.
- Quillen entered Thursday with just one career assist, which had come during her freshman year, but tripled that output with a two-assist performance against the Sycamores, helping on Valpo’s second and third goals. The two-goal match was the third-such effort by a Valpo player this year, as Griffin and Kontul each handed out a pair of helpers in a single match earlier this season.
- Griffith closed out her Valpo career with a brace, the seventh time in her four years she has netted at least two goals in a game. Coincidentally, her first career brace came in that 6-0 win over YSU in September of 2015.
- Griffith’s 75th minute tally would stand as the match-winner, extending her Valpo career record in that category to 12. She finishes up her time at Valpo second in program history in both goals (29) and points (65), as well as sixth in shots (175). For the season, Griffith scored eight goals – tied for eighth-most in a single year at Valpo – and attempted 59 shots – which ranks 10th in a season in program history.
- Griffith joins Lori Moore, a member of the Valpo Athletics Hall of Fame, as the only players all-time at Valpo with three single-season goal totals among the program’s top-10.
- Moulton did not allow a goal from the run of play on Thursday in earning her 11th career victory. She closes her Valpo career with a 1.44 GAA and ranks eighth in program history in goalkeeper minutes played (2191) and sixth in shutouts (6).
- Quillen became the first Valpo field player since Janine Lytle in 2012 to play every minute of a full season. The junior completed all 1,508 minutes and will enter the 2019 campaign on a streak of 2,145 consecutive minutes played.
- Valpo completed the regular season at 5-8-3 overall and 2-4-1 in Missouri Valley Conference play. Valpo finished level with Evansville at seven points for sixth place in the MVC standings, but Evansville won the tiebreak and the berth into the six-team MVC Tournament by virtue of a head-to-head win earlier this season.
Thoughts From Coach Marovich
"I think what I'm most proud of tonight is that it was a team culture win. It started on the bench, where those players brought energy, and that spilled over into the game."
"This year, we've had to be resilient, as we've dealt with a myriad of challenges and injuries and all kinds of near-misses and overtime losses - things that put you in a situation where even a win in tonight's match won't be enough to put you into the conference tournament. But it's a testament to our players and our culture that we came out with the same energy and attitude we have all year - we treated this match as bit as important as any other match we've played this year, and it showed tonight."
"It was great to see four of our seniors combine for our five goals tonight - the result is a great way for the entire class to finish their careers here, protecting Brown Field and coming out with a win. It seems fitting that Cory finishes with another game-winning goal to extend her record in that category. For Kelsey to get her goal was fantastic, and it was great to see Syd get her first of the year after a lot of close calls. I'm probably most happy for Eva - she is a great culture kid and has worked so hard throughout her career, and I couldn't be prouder of her tonight. On the other end, Drew made a couple big saves as well in goal. I'm just super proud of our entire senior class tonight."
"All season long, I've been proud of this team, how they've responded to adversity and lived our culture. They brought the right attitude and energy to all the different situations we faced. I truly believe that this season, with all its ups and downs, could be the foundational process we had to go through for future successes."