Make it five wins in a row as the Valpo soccer team continued its perfect start to Missouri Valley Conference play on Sunday in Springfield, Mo., getting early goals from Lindsey DuSatko (Plainfield, Ill./Plainfield North) and Kelsie James (Carmel, Ind./Carmel) in a 2-1 win at Missouri State to improve its conference record to 4-0-0.
How It Happened
- In stark contrast to their first three wins in MVC play, all of which have required goals late in regulation or in extra time, the Beacons jumped on top early Sunday. In the 13th minute, a pass back from a Missouri State midfielder to one of the Bears’ backs was misplayed and rolled back towards the MSU box. Despite the MSU backs having a five-yard head start, DuSatko went on a dead sprint and beat everyone to the ball, striking it first time with her right foot from the top right of the box inside the far post to put Valpo on top.
- The lead doubled in the 18th minute, and again DuSatko helped make it happen. Freshman Abby White (Commerce Township, Mich./Walled Lake Central) played a long through ball that DuSatko looked to run onto. Just inside the top of the box, a Bears defender caught the sophomore on a tackle attempt which was immediately ruled a penalty.
- James stepped up to take the ensuing spot kick, and for the second straight match easily converted a penalty kick, using her right foot to put it in the lower-left corner and make it 2-0 Valpo.
- Missouri State cut the advantage to 2-1 in the 44th minute, as Anna Durnin headed a corner kick from Grace O’Keefe into the back of the net.
- A pair of stellar plays in the back kept the one-goal lead for the Beacons in the 75th A cross from the right along the ground looked to be destined for the foot of MSU’s Grace O’Keefe for an easy tap-in, but junior Natalie Graf (Williamsburg, Mich./St. Francis) — playing just her second collegiate match at center back — came through with a clutch tackle to knock the ball away.
- Graf’s clearance made it just to the top of the 18-yard box, but that was just enough time for goalkeeper Nikki Coryell (Aurora, Ill./Metea Valley) to get back into position to make a leaping save to her right to deny MSU’s Jade Loftness the potential equalizer.
- Valpo had a great chance to add an insurance goal in the 81st minute, as James unleashed a curling effort from the top left of the box that looked destined for the upper-right corner until MSU goalkeeper Katherine Montgomery made a lunging save to keep it out of the back of the net.
- The Beacons surrendered a pair of shots late as MSU pushed for the tying goal, but both were from distance and not on frame as Valpo maintained the advantage at the final whistle.
Inside the Match
- Valpo has now won five in a row, its longest winning streak since winning 12 in a row in the 2014 season.
- The Beacons have won four consecutive road matches, its longest winning streak in true road matches since winning seven straight as the visitor in 2014.
- Valpo sits at a perfect 4-0-0 in MVC play through four match dates, picking up all 12 potential points from the first half of the conference slate.
- Dating back to last season, the program has won six straight regular season MVC matches, its longest winning streak in league regular season play since the 2014 side ran through the Horizon League schedule with a perfect 8-0-0 record.
- DuSatko’s goal was her third of the season and the sixth of her career. Coming at the 12:12 mark of the match, it was Valpo’s first goal in the opening 45 minutes of play in an MVC match this season.
- The goal was Valpo’s earliest since James netted one less than seven minutes into her collegiate debut in the spring 2021 season opener versus Chicago State.
- James remained tied atop the MVC’s goal-scoring chart this season, as her successful spot kick was her sixth goal of the season and the ninth of her career.
- Valpo netted a pair of goals inside of 20 minutes for the first time since knocking home three in the first 18 minutes against Chicago State in September 2017.
- Despite tying for conference-high honors with her six goals this year, James’ goal ended up being her first match-winner of the season. Valpo has had six different players score game-winning goals this season, the highest number of match-winning scorers since seven different players were credited with GWG in the 2014 season.
- Ironically, this season’s win over Missouri State came in exactly the same fashion that Valpo beat the Bears this past spring — DuSatko opened the scoring, James came through with the eventual match-winner and then Missouri State grabbed a consolation tally.
- Coryell made seven saves in goal to earn the victory, but outside of the 75th-minute stop, the rest came on efforts from some distance and were easy stops.
- The goal by the Bears was the first Valpo has surrendered in MVC play this year and halted the team’s shutout streak at 419 consecutive minutes. The Beacons have given up one goal or fewer in eight of their last nine matches.
Thoughts From Coach Marovich
“To go to four wins in as many matches in conference, I’m just so proud of our group. It’s great to come out with points from any road matches, but especially all three from the longest trip in the conference schedule.”
“We had a really good energy about us today, and we came out executing from the start, which helped us produce goals early.”
“We had a different challenge today, scoring those early goals and having to learn about how to manage a two-goal lead on the road. At times, we let the game get away from us, but it was a wonderful opportunity for us to go through that today against a good side — we learned from it and were able to adjust. Giving up the goal right before the half could have been the difference in the second half, but we came out and we grew in the first 15 minutes, played solid in the next 15 and saw out the game in a 5-3-2 the final 15.”
“I thought Chase did a really great job of winning balls in the air for us. Our front three of Kiley, Kelsie and Lindsey did well early working hard up top and earning the pair of goals. Nikki’s save towards the end of the match was obviously big for us as well. I liked what Katie did coming off the bench the last 15 minutes at center back, winning some big head balls and making a number of clearances — for me, that’s what this team is about, everyone coming in and doing what they’re asked to do for the betterment of our group.”
Valpo (7-4-1, 4-0-0 MVC) steps out of conference play for the last time this season for Senior Night on Saturday evening from Brown Field, as the Beacons welcome Cornell (Iowa) College to Brown Field. Kickoff is slated for 7 p.m., with Senior Night ceremonies to take place at about 6:45 p.m. The match can be seen live on The Valley on ESPN.