It might have been a non-conference matchup on the schedule, but the struggle for control in Wednesday’s women’s soccer match between Valpo and UNI felt like an MVC battle. In the end, neither side yielded as the fixture — played at the Indoor Sports Center at Mercyhealth Sportscore Two in Loves Park, Ill. — ended in a 0-0 draw in double overtime. Freshman goalkeeper Nikki Coryell (Aurora, Ill./Metea Valley) made five saves to preserve the clean sheet, her first career shutout.
How It Happened
- The first half saw UNI finish with a slight 6-5 edge in shot attempts, but Valpo put four of its five attempts on goal to force Caitlin Richards to make four saves for the Panthers. Coryell stopped a pair of shots on frame to keep the match scoreless at halftime.
- It was Valpo with a 5-3 advantage in shots in the second 45 minutes, but the sides combined for just one shot on goal — a UNI effort which was handled by Coryell in the 49th
- Extra time brought more of the same, as the defenses prevented the attacks from creating strong scoring chances. Each side had two shots in the extra 20 minutes — both of UNI’s shots were on frame, but both were easily stopped by Coryell as the game ended in a scoreless draw.
Inside the Match
- Despite being a matchup of two MVC programs, Wednesday’s match was a non-conference fixture to help both programs get another game in before the start of MVC play. The two sides are slated to play this season’s MVC match at UNI on March 28.
- Wednesday’s match was the second of three consecutive indoor matches for Valpo to start the season. The Brown and Gold had not played a regular season match indoors prior to this year.
- This is the third time in the last four seasons that Valpo has started the campaign with consecutive results. Ironically, this year’s squad has identical scorelines to the 2018 team in the first two matches — a 2-1 victory followed by a scoreless draw.
- Coryell made five saves to earn the clean sheet in just her second career match, while Richards stopped four shots to finish with the shutout for UNI.
- The draw was the first in eight meetings in the all-time series between Valpo and UNI. The Brown and Gold now own a slim 4-3-1 series lead.
- Prior to Wednesday, Valpo’s last 0-0 draw came back on Oct. 3, 2018 at Brown Field versus UIC.
- Valpo has not won a match in overtime since a come-from-behind 3-2 win over Eastern Illinois on Sept. 1, 2017. Since then, Valpo is 0-3-5 in matches which have gone beyond 90 minutes.
- Freshman Hannah Mares (Castle Rock, Colo./Castle View) played 11 minutes off the bench as she made her collegiate debut.
- Sophomores Kiley Dugan (Irwin, Pa./Penn-Trafford) and Nicole Norfolk (Menomonee Falls, Wis./Divine Savior Holy Angels) each started their 20th consecutive match on Wednesday, while Norfolk played all 110 minutes to extend her consecutive minutes played streak to 1,859 straight minutes.
Thoughts From Coach Marovich
“I'm really proud of our players and happy with their performance today as they're finding their legs again. Coming off of a long break, to be able to get a win in our first match and then another result with a tie today is a great way to start off the spring season — it shows a lot of grit. I’m really enjoying working with this group — despite everything else that’s going on, when they get to practice, they are totally engaged in getting better as a unit, and I think you’re seeing that engagement paying off in our first two games.”
“I've felt like we have come out on the front foot in both our games so far. We had a good rhythm to our performance in the first 45 minutes today, and I thought we did a lot of really positive things in the first half.”
“In the second half, we got a bit stretched — UNI came out and challenged us in a little bit of a different way. But that gave us an opportunity to grow as a unit. I felt like when we got stretched today, we handled those situations with more composure today than we did last Wednesday, which shows that we're learning from our experiences.”
“We had some really good individual performances today. Cassidy Eckstein came off the bench and played really well in the central midfield. I thought Kiley Dugan did a great job for us, and it was great to have Kiera Pratt play a full match for the first time in her career as well. All in all, every person who came in contributed, and that shows a lot of great character within this group. We're looking forward to getting back on the field and training for our next match.”
Valpo (1-0-1) closes its truncated non-conference campaign on Monday afternoon at the Sparta Dome in Crown Point as it hosts DePaul at 1 p.m. Live stats will be available at ValpoAthletics.com.