Valparaiso (2-2-3, 1-1-2 MVC)
Wednesday, March 24 - 6 p.m. - at Evansville (1-1-1, 1-1-1 MVC)
Sunday, March 28 - 1 p.m. - at UNI (2-2-2, 2-2-0 MVC)
Next Up in Valpo Soccer: The Valpo soccer team takes to the road for a pair of matches in a five-day stretch coming up. The Brown and Gold head downstate to Evansville for a Wednesday evening match before traveling to UNI for a Sunday afternoon showdown.
Previously: Valpo closed out a three-match homestand at Brown Field with a 1-1 draw with Drake last Friday evening. Kiley Dugan netted Valpo’s goal midway through the second half, while Nikki Coryell made five saves to secure the tie.
Next Up: Valpo closes the regular season with two matches during the first week of April. The home slate comes to an end on April 2 against Missouri State, while the final regular season match will be April 7 at Illinois State.
Following the Brown and Gold: The match at Evansville is slated for broadcast on ESPN3. Both matches will have live stats available via ValpoAthletics.com.
Head Coach John Marovich: In his 13th season at the helm of the Brown and Gold, John Marovich holds a 100-97-34 (.506) 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: Evansville - The Purple Aces hold a 9-3-2 advantage in the all-time series and have won two of three matchups since Valpo joined the MVC. It was the Brown and Gold who came out victorious in the last meeting, however, as a goal from Lauren Torhorst was the decisive tally in a 1-0 Valpo win at Brown Field on Oct. 20, 2019.
UNI - Valpo owns a slight 4-3-1 advantage in the all-time series over the Panthers, with the most recent meeting being a scoreless draw earlier this season in a non-conference match. Their last matchup within MVC play was a 3-0 win for Valpo in last season’s regular season finale. Lauren Torhorst notched a brace in that match and Natalie Graf found the back of the net as well.
Scouting the Opposition: Evansville - The Purple Aces enter Wednesday’s match at 1-1-1 this year, but have not played since a scoreless draw at Southern Illinois on March 9. Their other two results were a 1-0 loss to Illinois State and a 1-0 overtime win over UNI. Emily Ormson scored UE’s lone goal of the year, while three different goalkeepers have seen action, with Lauren Fischer and Georgia Katsonouri posting clean sheets.
UNI - The Panthers are 2-2-2 overall and 2-2-0 in MVC play, most recently beating Southern Illinois by a 5-0 final. UNI will play Illinois State on Thursday prior to Sunday’s fixture. Sandra Thiman has scored two of the Panthers’ six goals. Defensively, Caitlin Richards has played the vast majority of minutes in goal and owns a 0.35 GAA and an .867 save percentage.
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.
Dugan Evens Things Up: Less than four minutes after Drake had taken the lead from Valpo on a second-half penalty kick last time out, sophomore Kiley Dugan leveled the match with a nice strike in the 67th minute. For Dugan, it was her second career goal, both of which have come in draws.
Coryell Keeps Making Saves: Freshman goalkeeper Nikki Coryell continued the strong start to her collegiate career last week. She surrendered just a penalty kick goal in Valpo’s 1-1 draw with Drake, making five saves. The MVC Defensive Player of the Week Feb. 23, Coryell currently owns a 0.65 GAA and an .853 save percentage with three shutouts in the season’s first seven matches.
Many Weekly Honorees: Coryell is one of three players who have combined for four weekly awards from the MVC so far this year. Freshman forward Kelsie James was named MVC Freshman of the Week in each of the season’s first two weeks, while senior defender Keegan Maris was tabbed the MVC Defensive Player of the Week following Valpo’s season-opening win. Valpo already has four weekly awards this year after combining for just three in the last two seasons.
Reaching a Milestone: The win over Indiana State was a milestone victory for head coach John Marovich, who earned his 100th win as head coach of the Brown and Gold with the victory over the Sycamores. He became the first Valpo soccer coach - men’s or women’s - in history to reach triple digits in victories on the sidelines. Marovich now owns a career record of 100-97-34 in his 13th season at the helm of the Valpo program, and he was a pair of 52 wins over six seasons as an assistant/associate head coach as well before becoming head coach. Marovich is one of three MVC coaches with 100 or more wins as head coach at their current school (Lindsey Horner, Drake; Rob Brewer-MSU).
Torhorst Does It Again: It might be a new season, but senior Lauren Torhorst picked right up where she left off in terms of scoring key goals in conference play. Torhorst notched what would be the match-winning goal late in the first half of Valpo’s 2-0 win over Indiana State. An Honorable Mention All-MVC recipient in 2019, Torhorst now owns the game-winner in each of Valpo’s last three MVC victories and has scored six goals in Valley play over the last two years.
The Youth of the Side: Over 30% of Valpo’s minutes played this year have come from freshmen, and four rookies have combined to make 23 starts so far this year. Underclassmen account for 56.8% of the team’s minutes played through the first seven matches and have earned 43 of 77 starting nods.
Starting Streaks: Four players have been a part of the starting XI in all seven matches to date this year: senior Keegan Maris, sophomores Kiley Dugan and Nicole Norfolk and freshman Nikki Coryell. Dugan and Norfolk both started all 18 matches a season ago as well and enter Wednesday with starting streaks of 25 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 2,349 minutes. Maris has also played all 690 minutes so far this year in the field, and Coryell has seen all the action at goalkeeper as well.