The Valpo women’s soccer team equalized its non-conference match with DePaul Monday afternoon at Sparta Dome in Crown Point with a penalty kick in the 85th minute, but the Blue Demons pulled out a 2-1 victory as they found the back of the net with 14 seconds remaining in regulation.
How It Happened
- DePaul jumped out on the front foot Monday and scored in the sixth minute of play. Beth Smyth played a pass to Morgan Turner, who finished from the top of the box on the right-hand side into the lower-left corner to give the Blue Demons the 1-0 lead.
- Valpo did well to keep it a 1-0 game at intermission, as the Blue Demons out-shot the Brown and Gold 8-1 in the opening half. Freshman goalkeeper Nikki Coryell (Aurora, Ill./Metea Valley) made four first-half saves to limit DePaul to just the one goal in the opening 45 minutes.
- DePaul looked to have a good scoring chance early in the second half, getting the ball into the box in the 48th minute, but the Valpo back line laid out to block a scoring effort from in tight as it remained a one-goal game.
- Valpo started to get some good movement going forward in the second half, and with the clock starting to wind into the final minutes, took advantage of one such chance. In the 85th minute, a well-struck through ball put freshman Kelsie James (Carmel, Ind./Carmel) in position to run onto it for a scoring chance, but she was clattered between a pair of DePaul defenders and the linesman immediately flagged for a foul in the box.
- It was James who had the opportunity to convert the ensuing penalty, and the freshman showed no rookie nerves, driving her effort into the lower left to equalize the match at 1-1.
- It appeared that James’ goal meant that extra time was imminent, but DePaul had other thoughts. A foul resulted in a free kick for the Blue Demons with less than 30 seconds to play from the right flank, about 35 yards from goal, and Bella Hanisch played a ball close in to the far post, where Sydney Parker was able to head it home with 14 seconds to play to give DePaul the win.
Inside the Match
- Monday’s match was the third and final non-conference matchup of the year for Valpo, as it closed its pre-conference slate with a 1-1-1 record.
- It also was the last of two scheduled matches for Valpo at Sparta Dome this year, where it played regular season matches for the first time.
- James has now tallied two goals in her first three collegiate games.
- Valpo is a perfect 2-for-2 on penalty conversions this year through three games after going just 2-for-5 from the spot over the last five seasons combined.
- DePaul ended the afternoon with a 14-4 advantage in shots and put seven on goal as Coryell made five saves in net for Valpo. The Blue Demons also had five of the match’s six corners.
- Freshman Cassidy Eckstein (Carmel, Ind./Carmel) earned a starting assignment in the midfield Monday, becoming the fourth different Valpo freshman to start a match this year.
- Sophomores Kiley Dugan (Irwin, Pa./Penn-Trafford) and Nicole Norfolk (Menomonee Falls, Wis./Divine Savior Holy Angels) each started their 21st consecutive match on Monday, while Norfolk played all 90 minutes to extend her consecutive minutes played streak to 1,949 straight minutes.
Thoughts From Coach Marovich
“Obviously dropping the game the way we did doesn't sit well, but at the same time, I felt like our team grew exponentially today.”
“We responded to the early goal and settled into the game well. I thought with our performance in the second half, we just kept growing into the game against a really good DePaul side, and that was an improvement from our first two games where we maybe weren't as good in the second half.”
“To be able to come in and get the equalizer late in the second half was huge. I thought Kelsie did a great job stepping up to the spot and knocking it in with quality.”
“There are too many players to talk about in terms of good performances today — so many players stepped up. This is definitely a game which we will learn a great deal from, and this performance should be our standard moving forward.”
“I think we had a really good run with our three matches in the non-conference. They were a great way to prepare for the MVC season, and we look forward to getting that started on Sunday.”
Valpo (1-1-1) opens up conference action on Sunday afternoon from Southern Illinois. Kickoff in Carbondale is slated for 1 p.m.