Valparaiso (1-14-1, 1-5-0 MVC)
Thursday, Oct. 31 - vs. UNI (5-10-0, 1-5-0 MVC) - 4 p.m.
This Week in Valpo Soccer: The Valpo women’s soccer team closes out the regular season at Brown Field this Thursday afternoon as it hosts UNI to finish out the MVC slate. With a win and favorable results elsewhere, the Brown and Gold would earn a spot in the MVC Tournament.
Previously: Valpo fell in its final road match of the regular season last Saturday afternoon at Drake, 3-0. The Bulldogs scored goals in the 18th, 39th and 77th minutes to earn the win.
Looking Ahead: If Valpo earns a spot into the 2019 MVC Tournament, it would open tournament play on the road in a first-round matchup on Sunday, Nov. 3.
Following the Brown and Gold: The regular season finale will be broadcast live on ESPN+. Live stats for the matchup with the Panthers will also be available via ValpoAthletics.com.
Head Coach John Marovich: In his 12th season at the helm of the Brown and Gold, John Marovich holds a 97-93-31 (.509) record both overall and at Valpo as a head coach. The 2014 Horizon League Coach of the Year, Marovich holds Valpo’s all-time records for both victories and winning percentage.
Series Notes: Valpo and UNI have split six all-time meetings, with each side winning on three occasions. Valpo held a 3-1-0 advantage in the series in a quartet of non-conference matchups between 2002 and 2007, but since the Brown and Gold joined the MVC, the Panthers have claimed wins in both fixtures - 2-1 in extra time on Brown Field in 2017, and 3-0 in Cedar Falls last season.
Scouting the Opposition: UNI enters Thursday’s regular season finale at 5-10-0 overall and 1-5-0 in MVC play. The Panthers’ lone conference win was a 2-1 home victory over Indiana State on Oct. 12, and they have lost three straight matches since, including most recently a 1-0 home loss to Evansville last Saturday. Senior Jordyn Rolli has netted a team-best six goals and also leads UNI with 15 points, but has been limited to just one goal in conference play. Anna Kaiser and Jordyn Petty have split the minutes pretty evenly in goal, with Petty owning slightly better GAA (2.06) and save percentage (.712) marks.
Valpo Picked Seventh in Preseason Poll: Valpo has been picked to finish in seventh place in the MVC in 2019, according to preseason pollings of the conference’s head coaches. The Brown and Gold tallied 15 points in the polling. Loyola earned six of eight first-place votes en route to claiming the top spot. Valpo has not finished below its preseason projection in each of its first two years in The Valley.
Looking Back at 2018: Valpo posted a 5-8-3 record last season and went 2-4-1 in its second season of Missouri Valley Conference play. Cory Griffith was named a First Team All-MVC honoree as she closed out a stellar Valpo career with an eight-goal campaign, finishing her time at Valpo first in program history in game-winning goals (12) and second in goals (29) and points (65). Kelsey Jahn earned Second Team All-MVC honors, while Morgen Metzger was on the conference’s All-Freshman Team.
What’s Back and What’s New: Valpo returns 13 letterwinners from last year’s squad, including five starters. The program welcomed nine newcomers to the fold this season - eight true freshmen and one transfer.
What’s On the Line: Valpo finds itself with a shot at earning a berth into the MVC Tournament entering the final match of the regular season Thursday. Valpo enters the matchup against UNI level with the Panthers at three points, just outside the top-six currently. A win against UNI would move Valpo to six points, and would secure a tournament berth unless both Indiana State (vs. Missouri State) and Evansville (vs. Loyola) win their matches as well.
Torhorst Picks Up the Winner: Junior Lauren Torhorst tallied the match-winning goal in Valpo’s win over Evansville on Oct. 20, scoring in the 25th minute for the lone goal in the 1-0 win. For Torhorst, it was her team-best third goal of the year, following her brace earlier in MVC play at Indiana State, and her first career match-winner among her five career goals.
Clean Sheet From Georgia: It had been nearly a month since freshman goalkeeper Georgia Henkel had stepped foot in the goal mouth before she took the field on Oct. 20, starting in goal for the first time in MVC play against Evansville. 90 minutes later, Henkel had picked up her first career shutout, keeping the Purple Aces off the board in the 1-0 win.
The Youth in the Side: Valpo has featured an extremely young side through the entirety of this season, starting with the season opener, where the Brown and Gold featured five freshmen in the starting XI. Five freshmen starters marked the most for a Valpo women’s soccer team in a season opener since at least 1998. To date, Valpo has started at least four freshmen, with most matches featuring at least five rookies and seven underclassmen. The win over Evansville featured six freshmen starters - tying the most in a single match this year - and eight underclassmen in all.