Valparaiso (0-0-0, 0-0-0 MVC)
Thursday, Aug. 19 - at Indiana (0-0-0, 0-0-0 B1G) - 6 p.m. CT
Sunday, Aug. 22 - Ball State (0-0-0, 0-0-0 MAC) - 1 p.m.
Next Up in Valpo Soccer: Fresh off its best season since the 2014 campaign, the Valpo soccer team opens up its 29th season of competition with a pair of non-conference matches this week. Valpo will test itself in the opener Thursday night at Indiana before kicking off the home schedule at Brown Field Sunday versus Ball State.
Previously: Valpo prepped for the start of the season with a pair of exhibition matches against strong MAC sides, playing at Bowling Green and hosting Western Michigan.
Looking Ahead: The Beacons will trek to Western Pennsylvania for a two-match road trip next weekend, facing off against Duquesne and Robert Morris.
Following the Beacons: Thursday’s match at IU will be broadcast on BTN+, and both matches will have live stats available via ValpoAthletics.com. Valpo’s final eight home matches will all be broadcast live on The Valley on ESPN.
Head Coach John Marovich: Entering his 14th season at the helm of the Valpo program, John Marovich holds a 103-99-36 (.508) 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: Indiana - Thursday marks just the second matchup between Valpo and the Hoosiers in program history and the first since the early days of the Valpo program. In the only previous meeting, IU claimed a 5-0 win in Bloomington on Sept. 11, 1996.
Ball State - Valpo holds a 4-1-0 advantage in the all-time series against the Cardinals and won the last meeting, overcoming a 2-1 deficit to earn a 3-2 victory on Sept. 3, 2009 in West Lafayette. Valpo also won the previous matchup against BSU, a 1-0 win in the 2008 season opener which was John Marovich’s first win as Valpo head coach.
Valpo Picked Fourth in Preseason Poll: Valpo has been chosen to finish in fourth place in the MVC this fall in preseason polling of the conference’s head coaches. Valpo racked up 51 points in the polling — including one first-place vote — to come in fourth position. Loyola claimed the rest of the first-place votes to top the poll, while Illinois State and Indiana State were picked just in front of the Beacons. Valpo was 13 points clear of Missouri State and UNI, who tied for fifth place. Valpo also boasted a trio of preseason All-MVC honorees: Nikki Coryell (First Team), Kiley Dugan (First Team) and Kelsie James (Honorable Mention).
Looking Back at Last Season: Valpo enjoyed a strong spring 2021 campaign, posting its best regular-season finish since joining the MVC (third place) and advancing to the title match of the MVC Tournament for the first time. Valpo finished with a 5-4-5 overall record, a seven-game improvement from its record the previous season — the third-best year-over-year improvement in the nation. Freshman Nikki Coryell was the MVC Goalkeeper of the Year and was joined on the All-MVC First Team by senior defender Keegan Maris and sophomore forward Kiley Dugan - Second Team and Third Team All-Region honorees, respectively.
What’s Back and What’s New: Valpo returns 12 letterwinners from the spring 2021 campaign, eight of whom were regulars in the starting XI last season and six of whom found the back of the net in the spring. Joining the 12 letterwinners, as well as five other returnees, on this year’s team are two transfers and 10 freshmen.
Winning the Opener: Valpo will look to maintain its recent success in season openers on Thursday evening in Bloomington. The team has won its season opener in three of the last four seasons, including a 2-1 victory this past February against Chicago State.
Coryell Between the Pipes: Sophomore goalkeeper Nikki Coryell made an immediate impact in her first season at Valpo as she was named the MVC Goalkeeper of the Year - the first player in program history to be named a league Goalkeeper of the Year. Coryell allowed just eight goals over 1,379 minutes of action for a 0.52 GAA and made 59 saves for an .881 save percentage. Coryell, who surrendered one goal or fewer in 13 of Valpo’s 14 matches, posted seven clean sheets to set a Valpo freshman record and moved into second on Valpo’s single-season charts in both GAA and save percentage. She ranked first in the MVC in shutouts and second in GAA and save percentage, and finished the spring 2021 campaign ranked 10th nationally in save percentage, 14th in shutouts and 21st in GAA.
Consistency In the Back: The consistency in the back four in front of Coryell was a big part of Valpo’s defensive success in the spring of 2021. Of the back four, three of the defenders - seniors Peyton Flynn and Katie Hansen and junior Nicole Norfolk - return this fall for the Beacons. Norfolk started and went the distance in all 14 matches in the spring, Flynn started the final 13 matches of the season and didn’t come off the field the final 12, and Hansen started and played the entire match each of the final 12 fixtures.
Dugan Works Up Front: Junior forward Kiley Dugan brought home First Team All-MVC and Third Team All-Region honors last year for her work on the attacking front for Valpo. Dugan played 1,172 minutes - 85% of the possible minutes and the most of any Valpo forward - and went 80+ minutes on nine occasions. She tallied a goal in MVC action against Drake March 19, equalizing the match in an eventual 1-1 draw less than four minutes after Valpo had fallen behind. Through her first two seasons, Dugan has started all 32 matches.
James Fills Up the Net: Sophomore forward Kelsie James was an Honorable Mention All-MVC selection and member of the MVC’s All-Freshman Team last season as a rookie last season for Valpo. The three-time MVC Freshman of the Week tied for team-high honors with three goals and led Valpo with two assists and eight points. James finished the year tied for third in the Valley in both goals and assists. James’ third goal of the year was her biggest, scoring a match-winner April 3 against Missouri State in the penultimate match of the regular season.
Iron Woman: Junior defender Nicole Norfolk has been a fixture on the field through her first two seasons in the Brown and Gold. Not only has Norfolk started all 32 matches of her first two years at Valpo, she has not come off the field once in any of those 32 contests. She played all 1,379 minutes of the spring 2021 campaign and is now up to 3,038 consecutive minutes played entering the fall season. That is the second-longest known streak of consecutive minutes played by a Valpo defender, as Tracy Roos (2008-11) played 3,413 consecutive minutes spanning parts of her final three seasons. However, Roos did not play every minute of multiple seasons, something Norfolk did in each of her first two years.