Valparaiso (1-1-1, 0-0-0 MVC)
Sunday, Feb. 28 - 1 p.m. - at Southern Illinois (0-1-0, 0-0-0 MVC) - Carbondale, Ill.
Next Up in Valpo Soccer: After an abbreviated non-conference campaign which consisted of three matches, the Valpo women’s soccer team jumps into Missouri Valley Conference play on Sunday afternoon with a trip to newcomer Southern Illinois. Valpo head coach John Marovich enters the start of MVC action just one win shy of 100 for his career.
Previously: Valpo posted a 1-1-1 record in its non-conference slate, beating Chicago State 2-1, playing UNI to a scoreless draw and falling to DePaul 2-1 on a goal in the final seconds. The Brown and Gold received four of the MVC’s six weekly award winners in the season’s first two weeks.
Next Up: Valpo returns home to Brown Field for three consecutive home matches, starting with a Tuesday, March 9 matinee against Indiana State.
Following the Brown and Gold: Live stats only will be available for Sunday’s match. MVC matches hosted at Brown Field are slated to be broadcast either on ESPN3 or ESPN+, while some road matches will be broadcast as well.
Head Coach John Marovich: In his 13th season at the helm of the Brown and Gold, John Marovich holds a 99-96-32 (.507) 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: This will be the first meeting in the all-time series between Valpo and SIU.
Scouting the Opposition: Southern Illinois enters the conference opener at 0-1-0 as it dropped a 4-0 decision to Western Kentucky in its lone non-conference match. The Salukis’ first season of intercollegiate competition came in 2019, when they posted a 5-10-2 record while playing only non-conference opponents.
Valpo Picked Sixth in Preseason Poll: The Valpo women’s soccer team has been picked to finish in sixth place in the MVC during the spring 2021 season, according to preseason polling of the conference’s head coaches. Valpo tallied 36 points in the polling to place sixth, coming in just two points behind UNI for fifth position. Loyola claimed eight of the nine first-place votes and topped the poll, with Illinois State and Missouri State right behind the Ramblers. Valpo has either matched or bettered its preseason projection in the final MVC standings in each of its first three seasons in the conference.
Looking Back at 2019: Valpo posted a 2-15-1 record in 2019 and went 2-5-0 in its third season of Missouri Valley Conference play, finishing in fifth position in the conference regular season standings and qualifying for the conference tournament. Senior Ali Quillen earned Second Team All-MVC accolades, while junior Lauren Torhorst was an Honorable Mention All-MVC selection and Kiley Dugan and Nicole Norfolk earned MVC All-Freshman Team honors.
What’s Back and What’s New: Valpo returns 15 letterwinners from last year’s team for the spring 2021 campaign, including all of its goalscorers from last season and eight starters in all. Joining that group is a set of 10 freshmen ready for their first season of collegiate soccer.
Two Weeks, Two Awards: Freshman forward Kelsie James has kicked off her career in the Brown and Gold with a bang, earning MVC Freshman of the Week honors in each of the season’s first two weeks. She made an immediate impact in her debut, scoring less than seven minutes into Valpo’s season-opening win over Chicago State. The goal, which came at the 6:53 mark, was the fastest goal to open a season in program history. James then notched her second goal of the season in her third career match, slotting home a penalty against DePaul in the 85th minute which equalized the match at that point, 1-1. James also drew the foul which led to the penalty kick. James is the first Valpo freshman to score twice in her rookie season’s first three matches since Sarah Jewell found the back of the net twice in the first three fixtures of the 2006 campaign. Prior to this year, Valpo had just one Newcomer/Freshman of the Week honoree in its first three seasons in the MVC.
Coryell Holds Her Line: Freshman goalkeeper Nikki Coryell was honored as the MVC Defensive Player of the Week this Tuesday, earning the accolade after posting her first career clean sheet in a non-conference matchup against UNI last Wednesday, making five saves to secure the shutout against the Panthers. She made five saves as well in a one-goal loss to DePaul to close non-conference play, facing a Blue Demons squad which was selected second in the Big East Midwest Division preseason poll. Coryell has posted a 0.93 GAA and an .813 save percentage through her first three collegiate matches.
Maris Returns to Action: While everyone on the roster was eager to return to action, maybe no player was more ready to kick off the season than Keegan Maris. Maris, who missed most of the 2018 season and all of 2019 due to injury, returned to Valpo’s lineup in the season-opening win over Chicago State, playing all 90 minutes at left back in her first match in 885 days. Maris helped limit CSU to just four shots on goal in the win and was named the first MVC Defensive Player of the Week of the season for her role in the victory. Maris played all 290 minutes at left back over Valpo’s three non-conference matches.
Returning Award Winners: Valpo returns three postseason award winners from the 2019 campaign. Lauren Torhorst was named an Honorable Mention All-MVC honoree as she went on a scoring spree within Valley play, ranking second in the conference with five goals scored. Torhorst recorded the first multi-goal match of her career at Indiana State to start things off, netted the lone goal in Valpo’s 1-0 win over Evansville, and then helped Valpo secure the fifth seed in the MVC Tournament with a brace – including the match-winning goal – in the 3-0 win over UNI to close the regular season. Torhorst became just the second player in program history to record a pair of multi-goal matches in regular season play against conference opponents, joining all-time leading scorer Lori Moore.
Two of Valpo’s rookies were honored as well as members of the 2019 MVC All-Freshman Team. Nicole Norfolk was a stalwart on defense for Valpo in her rookie season, starting every match and playing all 1,659 minutes over Valpo’s 18 fixtures. Norfolk also scored a goal on the offensive end in non-conference action against Wright State. Kiley Dugan started all 18 matches at forward for Valpo as a freshman, scoring a goal against Wright State and assisting on a goal in Valpo’s MVC win over UNI.
Starting Streaks: Dugan and Norfolk both started all 18 matches a season ago and have been part of the starting XI in each of this season’s first three matches to extend their starting streaks to 21 straight matches.
Iron Woman: Norfolk is quickly joining the ranks of Valpo backs who have played almost every minute of their careers. The sophomore played all 1,659 minutes during her rookie year and has not come off the pitch yet this year, extending her consecutive minutes played streak to 1,939 minutes.
Academic Success: The Valpo women’s soccer program has consistently produced champions in the classroom, and last year’s squad was no different. Valpo posted a 3.51 cumulative team GPA over the course of the 2019-20 academic year and earned the United Soccer Coaches Team Academic Award for an 18th consecutive season.