The perfect run through the Missouri Valley Conference slate continued Wednesday night for the Valpo soccer team, as a 72nd-minute goal from sophomore Kelsie James (Carmel, Ind./Carmel) directly from a corner kick stood up as the match-winner as the Beacons defeated Drake by a 1-0 final Wednesday in Des Moines. The win — Valpo’s seventh in a row — was the program’s first-ever victory over the Bulldogs and improved the team to 5-0-0 in MVC play.
How It Happened
- Valpo had the better of the first 45 minutes, out-shooting Drake 8-3 in the first half and putting five shots on goal, but the two sides went into halftime still scoreless.
- Sophomore goalkeeper Nikki Coryell (Aurora, Ill./Metea Valley) made a nice save to her right in the 59th minute to keep the Bulldogs off the board.
- One match after scoring the first goal of her career, senior Morgen Metzger (Grand Blanc, Mich./Grand Blanc) had a great chance at her second in as many contests, but her 72nd-minute effort was tipped over the crossbar by Drake goalkeeper Kelsie Stone.
- That just set the stage for James’ heroics, however. The sophomore stood over the corner kick from the right corner flag and took a perfectly-struck inswinger which curved into the upper-left corner to give Valpo a 1-0 lead with less than 20 minutes to play.
- From there, the Beacons successfully saw out the game, surrendering just a pair of shot attempts and one corner kick over the final 18 minutes as they closed out their seventh consecutive victory.
Inside the Match
- Valpo has now won seven consecutive matches dating back to Sept. 12. This is just the fourth winning streak of at least seven straight fixtures in program history, joining the 2014 squad’s 12-match winning streak, an eight-match winning streak by the 2006 team and a seven-match winning streak by the 2009 side.
- The victory pushes the Beacons to a perfect 5-0-0 in Valley play, again matching just the 2014 team which finished 8-0-0 in Horizon League action for the best start to conference play.
- With nine wins this season to date, Valpo is just one victory away from the 10th 10-win season in program history.
- Valpo entered Wednesday night’s match 0-6-2 against Drake in program history and earned its first victory over the Bulldogs. The last two seasons have seen Valpo come away with a draw and a win in its matchups with the Bulldogs.
- Within this seven-match winning streak, Valpo has posted six clean sheets. The Beacons now have seven shutouts as a team this year.
- Coryell recorded her fourth solo shutout of the season, all of which have come within MVC play. She now has a .963 save percentage in conference action after making five stops tonight and a 0.20 GAA as Valpo has surrendered just one goal in its first five Valley matches.
- James’ Olimpico in the second half was her seventh of the season, not only a team best, but leading the MVC as well. With seven goals and 17 points this year, the sophomore is just shy of Valpo’s single-season top-10 charts in both categories.
- Ironically, Valpo’s perfect run through the Horizon League in 2014 also included an Olimpico by Abby Kenyon in a victory at Green Bay.
- Four of the Beacons’ five wins in the MVC have come courtesy of a match-winner in the 70th minute or later.
Thoughts From Coach Marovich
“I continue to be so proud of this group. To get three points on the road is fantastic, and I’m happy not only with the result, but with how we played and how we built.”
“I felt like how we managed the game tonight was ultimately why we got the result. When we built through the middle of the field, we were able to create opportunities going forward. Then, after we scored the goal, we did a good job shifting our formation and seeing out the game.”
“The ownership our players have taken this season and their willingness to offer suggestions towards our game plan has been awesome to see — on the training ground leading into this game, we had players put in secondary actions on set pieces based off what they saw that we were able to use in the game.”
“As they have all year, everyone who stepped on the field tonight played their part, from the starters to the late subs to help see out the win. It was great to have Peyton and Allie back for extended minutes as they continue to work back from injuries.”
Valpo (9-4-1, 5-0-0 MVC) will host back-to-back matches on Brown Field as it comes down the home stretch of the regular season, starting with a Sunday afternoon match against UNI. The 1pm kickoff can be seen live on ESPN+.