A strong run of recent form from Valpo soccer freshman Dana Fish (Sheboygan, Wis./Sheboygan North) continued on Wednesday night at Brown Field, as the rookie hit the back of the net in the 75th minute to break a scoreless tie for the eventual match-winning goal in the Beacons’ 2-0 victory over Southern Illinois. The win, Valpo’s fourth in a row, keeps the team perfect in MVC play so far this season.
How It Happened
- Valpo controlled much of the first half of play, ending the period with an 8-4 advantage in shots and putting three on goal, but could not find the back of the net as the match went into halftime scoreless.
- Sophomore Kelsie James (Carmel, Ind./Carmel) had a pair of strong opportunities inside the box early in the second half, but her efforts in the 49th and the 53rd minutes were both saved by SIU goalkeeper Maddy Alaluf.
- The Beacons continued to push for the opening goal, eventually tallying 16 shots in the second half. Finally, they broke through in the 75th Senior Morgen Metzger (Grand Blanc, Mich./Grand Blanc) sent a perfectly-placed pass from the midfield in between two SIU backs. Fish, running on the right, ran onto it past the Saluki backs, carried it on inside the box and struck it from 10 yards out along the ground inside the far post to put Valpo on top.
- The Beacons would not surrender a shot to the Salukis the remainder of the game. Valpo put the match away in the 89th minute, as James was tripped up in the box by an SIU defender. The sophomore took the ensuing penalty kick herself and struck it well into the bottom-left corner for the two-goal edge.
Inside the Match
- This marks Valpo’s first four-match winning streak since winning 12 straight during the 2014 campaign. That season was also the last time the program started a league season with three consecutive wins.
- The 2014 season also boasts the last time before this year Valpo registered four straight clean sheets, as that year’s squad blanked Northern Arizona, Western Illinois, IPFW and Evansville in succession in early-season action.
- You have to go back to 2009 to find the last time Valpo won four in a row, all in shutout fashion — that season saw the Brown and Gold hold five straight opponents scoreless late in the season: Youngstown State, Cleveland State, Butler, IPFW and Green Bay.
- The Beacons have held their opposition scoreless for 376 consecutive minutes dating back to the Sept. 10 match against Western Illinois.
- Fish came up with another big play on Wednesday night with her match-winning goal. The goal was her third, all of which have come in Valpo’s last four matches. She has had a hand in all three of the Beacons’ match-winners in MVC play, scoring two of them — making her the only player in the conference with two game-winners through the first three match days of the Valley slate.
- Playing in her 55th match in the Valpo uniform, Metzger recorded her first career assist on Fish’s match-winner.
- James added on to her team-high scoring total with the late penalty, knocking home her fifth goal of the year, which ties her for the Valley lead in the category.
- Valpo out-shot SIU 24-9 on the evening and put 11 shots on frame to the Salukis’ five. Sophomore Nikki Coryell (Aurora, Ill./Metea Valley) made five saves, most of which came on shots from distance, to keep the clean sheet — her third of the season and the 10th of her career.
Thoughts From Coach Marovich
“Obviously getting three points in conference, giving us nine points though three matches, is the first thing on your mind when the match is over. It was a good performance for our entire group tonight – we moved the ball well, held the ball well, progressed well and eventually got the result.”
“To get to this point, to be 6-4-1 and be progressing the way we are, our players deserve so much credit. They are doing a great job of sticking to our game model and developing as a group.”
“We took another step forward tonight with the way we solved things centrally and got the ball into the creative gaps. Now it’s about refining that last move, the last piece in putting up goals.”
“Nikki was Nikki in goal tonight — she did what she always does and was solid back there. I thought Chase was great in the air winning long balls for us and getting possession back. Morgen’s pass on Dana’s goal was fantastic, one of those moments we’re trying to find within the game. It was great to have Peyton get back on the field tonight as well to chip in to a good performance from our back line.”
Valpo (6-4-1, 3-0-0 MVC) tries to keep its current roll going this Sunday afternoon as it treks to Springfield, Mo. to face Missouri State. The matchup with the Bears is set for a 1 p.m. kickoff and can be seen live on ESPN+.