The Valpo soccer team closed its weekend with a gritty performance Sunday afternoon in Lexington, Ky., battling SEC foe Kentucky to a 1-1 draw. Junior Addy Joiner (Chesterton, Ind./Chesterton) provided the goal nearing the midway point of the first half, while senior goalkeeper Nikki Coryell (Aurora, Ill./Metea Valley) secured the tie with a stellar save late in the second half.
How It Happened
- Valpo opened the scoring in the 20th minute to take the lead on the Wildcats. Joiner took a pass from senior Aubrey Ramey (Jacksonville, Fla./The Bolles School [DePaul]) and unleashed a shot from just outside the top of the right side of the box, a well-struck effort which curled its way into the upper left to put the Beacons on top.
- Kentucky leveled the match less than nine minutes later, however, as Jordyn Rhodes found the back of the net with a header.
- That proved to be it for the scoring on the afternoon, as Coryell dealt with the other three UK shots on target. The most impressive save came in the 79th minute, as the Wildcats’ Grace Phillpotts took a shot from 25 yards out that looked destined to sneak under the crossbar before Coryell knocked it over with a lunging, leaping effort to her left.
- Valpo was able to see out the draw despite being sent down to 10 players late on a red card in the 84th minute.
Inside the Match
- Sunday’s draw was the first positive result in program history against an SEC team. Valpo was previously 0-2-0 against Kentucky in a pair of matchups that came in the program’s first two seasons, and fell to Vanderbilt in 2010 as well.
- It was Valpo’s first positive result against any power conference program since a 1-0 win over Northwestern on Sept. 5, 2013.
- Valpo’s 2-1-1 record through four matches is the program’s best since starting the 2012 season 2-1-1.
- Joiner’s goal was her first of the season and the 11th of her Beacon career.
- Ramey’s assist was her second in four matches in the Valpo uniform.
- Coryell made a trio of saves to secure the draw, including the aforementioned highlight-reel stop.
- Fifth-year defender Nicole Norfolk (Menomonee Falls, Wis./Divine Savior Holy Angels) was one of three Beacons in the field to go the full 90 on Sunday and is the lone Valpo field player to have played all 360 minutes so far this season.
Thoughts From Head Coach John Marovich
“I’m super impressed with our group, to go on the road at an SEC school and get a draw. I’m certainly really proud of how we came out, we were on the front foot early, had a great chance where we got Lindsey in behind. And then Addy turns around, about 10 minutes after that, and really hits a great ball and shapes it to the upper 90.”
“Unfortunately, we later give away a goal, but ultimately, our team competed all the way around. Players came in, stepped up and played really solid minutes. Everyone just battled. To get a result on the road against Kentucky shows a lot about our players’ character and their mindset when it comes to getting in and defending, and then turning around and attacking.”
“What's been great about this weekend is we've gotten a chance to really test ourselves in two difficult environments. We have learned a great deal, and it will help our team grow as we move forward this season. The fight and battle we had was really impressive, and allowed us to have a super impactful weekend.”
Valpo (2-1-1) makes a brief return home to Brown Field on Thursday evening when it hosts Chicago State at 7:30 p.m. The match can be seen live on ESPN+.