For the second straight match to open the season, the Valparaiso University women’s soccer team battled in a tight matchup, but for the second time on the weekend, the lone goal of the game went against Valpo, as Oakland earned a 1-0 road win over the Brown and Gold Sunday afternoon on Brown Field.
How It Happened
- While the first shot of the game wouldn’t come until the 24th minute, there were chances on both ends in the first third of an hour, as both sides pushed on the attack early on, just failing to connect on a final pass in the attacking third.
- In fact, the first shot of the game would also result in the game’s lone goal. Oakland’s Kendra Zak sent a long ball over the top from her left back position, and it caromed off the head of a Valpo defender and further into the Oakland attacking third. Alexa Sabbagh ran onto it, gathered in the box, and then sent a shot along the ground around a Valpo defender and into the lower-right corner of the goal to give the Golden Grizzlies a 1-0 lead.
- While both sides had three more shot attempts in the first half, the game would go into halftime a 1-0 Oakland advantage.
- Valpo pushed forward in the second half, out-shooting the Golden Grizzlies over the final 45 minutes 7-1 and earning four corner kicks. But none of the Brown and Gold’s shots found the back of the net.
- Perhaps the best effort at the equalizer came in the 71st minute, when senior Julia Lehnen (Menomonee Falls, Wis./Menomonee Falls) drilled a shot from 25 yards out that rattled off the center of the crossbar.
Inside the Match
- For the second straight match, Valpo’s starting XI featured six newcomers, including five true freshmen.
- In fact, the starting XI was the exact same group that lifted the lid on the season Friday night. It marks the first time since 2015, when Valpo opened the season at Notre Dame and at Northwestern, the team has used the same group to start each of the season’s first two matches.
- Valpo finished the game with a 10-5 advantage in shots over Oakland and had six corner kicks to the Golden Grizzlies’ one. Freshman Georgia Henkel (Houston, Texas/Stratford) made two saves in net for Valpo, while Noemi Stadelmann stopped one shot to earn the victory for Oakland.
- Six Valpo field players played the full 90 minutes Sunday afternoon. Included in that group is senior center back Ali Quillen (Beavercreek, Ohio/Beavercrek), who went the distance for the 52nd time in 56 career starts. Quillen’s consecutive minutes played streak is now up to 2,325 minutes, dating back to Sept. 28, 2017.
Thoughts From Coach Marovich
“It really comes down to resolve with this group. In the second half, we had the right spirit and the right competitive intensity, and turned the game completely around. We had the opportunities - we out-shot Oakland, we out-cornered Oakland. We did a lot of really positive things, and that gave us the best chance to score we've had all year so far.”
“That is growth, and with growth, we're finding players and what they're able to bring to our group. We're going to continue to battle and fight, and eventually it will bear fruit for our players.”
Valpo (0-2-0) hits the road for the first time this season with a 6 p.m. CT kickoff at Bowling Green.