The Valpo soccer team is one step away from winning its first Missouri Valley Conference championship, as freshman Lindsey Dusatko (Plainfield, Ill./North) found the back of the net in Wednesday’s MVC semifinal match at Indiana State with just over a minute left in extra time to give Valpo the 1-0 victory on the golden goal. Valpo will play at Loyola Sunday afternoon for the championship trophy and the conference’s automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.
How It Happened
- The first half saw little in the way of standout scoring chances for either side, with Indiana State holding an 8-3 edge in shots over the first 45 minutes. Valpo goalkeeper Nikki Coryell (Aurora, Ill./Metea Valley) made a pair of saves in the period to keep the match scoreless.
- Senior Lauren Torhorst (Waterford, Wis./Waterford Union) notched Valpo’s first shot on goal of the match in the 52nd minute, an effort which was stopped by ISU goalkeeper Maddie Alexander.
- The woodwork went Valpo’s way in the 57th minute, as a shot by the Sycamores’ Anna Holcombe came back off the crossbar.
- Dusatko had a good look from 15 yards out on the left side with 15 minutes to play in regulation which was saved by Alexander.
- The Valpo defense was up to the task on a flurry of shots from Indiana State following a 78th-minute corner, as a pair of field players blocked ISU efforts before Coryell corralled a third attempt.
- With just a couple minutes left in regulation, Valpo had a stellar opportunity from close range in traffic following a free kick, but the shot from sophomore Kiley Dugan (Irwin, Pa./Penn-Trafford) was saved and the match would head to extra time.
- Just over a minute into overtime, Valpo was awarded a free kick just outside the box. Freshman Kelsie James (Carmel, Ind./Carmel) lined up the direct kick opportunity, but it flew just over the crossbar.
- Indiana State had a trio of shot attempts in the first period of extra time, one of which was saved by Coryell as the match hit the 100-minute mark.
- The Valpo defense stepped up again in the 107th minute, clearing a ball close off the line following an Indiana State corner kick.
- With the end of extra time approaching, Dusatko stepped up and scored the biggest goal of her career. An attempted service into the box from Valpo ricocheted off an Indiana State defender up into the air, creating a 50-50 ball on the left side. Dusatko won the ball and found herself with a 1-on-1 effort with Alexander, and the rookie calmly struck it from 10 yards out with her left foot inside the far post to set off the Valpo celebration.
Inside the Match
- Valpo advances to the MVC Championship title match for the first time in its fifth appearance in the conference tournament.
- The soccer program is the second Valpo team to reach an MVC title game since the program joined the Valley, joining the men’s basketball program.
- Sunday marks Valpo soccer’s first appearance in a league championship match since 2014, when the Brown and Gold won the Horizon League title.
- Dusatko’s goal was her third of the season, tying her for team-high honors with James. It was the first match-winning goal of her career.
- Indiana State finished the match with a 23-13 advantage in shots, but both sides put five efforts on goal. Coryell made five saves to earn her seventh shutout of the season, setting a new Valpo freshman record and tying her for sixth in a single season in program history.
- Valpo has now posted three consecutive clean sheets and has played 312 consecutive minutes of shutout soccer dating back to April 3 against Missouri State.
Thoughts From Coach Marovich
“I just think this tournament is a testament to our players who have been working since August. In such a tough and difficult year, they just keep battling. We talk about our program and the shield standard and family - the reason our players pulled this out today is because they believe in that, they live it out every day, and that's why they got the result in the end.”
“Something I saw the last two days was what I saw going into extra time today - it was just excitement. I don't think there were nerves - we wanted to be strong and powerful and brave, and we performed that way. We said going into overtime - we've been in this situation, we've played plenty of overtimes, let's actually get a winner in the run of play so we can go tackle the person who scored. Today, Lindsey was the person who got the last touch on it, but at the end of the day, there's 27 people in that locker room who made this happen.”
Valpo (5-3-5) heads to Loyola Sunday to take on the top-seeded Ramblers in the MVC Championship title match. Kickoff is slated for 1 p.m., and the match can be seen live on ESPN+.