For the second time in conference play, the Valpo soccer team struck for the opening goal of a match in the second minute, but this time, visiting Murray State responded almost immediately, and despite quality scoring chances both ways, neither side could break the deadlock as the matchup ended in a 1-1 draw.
How It Happened
- It took all of 85 seconds for the Beacons to take the lead on Sunday afternoon. Fifth-year center back Nicole Norfolk (Menomonee Falls, Wis./Divine Savior Holy Angels) made a run into the attacking third from the back line and laid off a pass in the center of the park to junior Addy Joiner (Chesterton, Ind./Chesterton). Joiner took care of the rest from there, rifling a shot from 25 yards out which hit the underside of the crossbar and bounced down across the goal line to give Valpo the 1-0 edge.
- But the advantage ended up lasting less than five minutes, as Murray State’s Mary Hardy found the back of the net with a header from the center of the box in the seventh minute to level the match.
- Valpo had plenty of chances to restore the lead to its side of the scoreboard, out-shooting MSU over the opening 45 minutes, 12-4. Perhaps the Beacons’ best opportunity came in the 17th minute on a rebound attempt from Sam Gountounas (Tinley Park, Ill./Andrew), as Racer goalkeeper Griselda Revolorio couldn’t cleanly handle an initial save. But Gountounas’ follow from in close at a tight angle hit the outside of the post.
- The match entered halftime level at 1-1, and remained that way throughout the second half, but not for a lack of chances — especially in the last few minutes. Senior goalkeeper Nikki Coryell (Aurora, Ill./Metea Valley) had to make her most challenging save of the afternoon in the 83rd minute on an effort from Hardy inside the box, but Coryell was up to the challenge with a lunging two-handed push over the crossbar.
- Joiner had a chance for a brace and the late go-ahead goal in the 87th minute on a sharp angle from the left side, but her left-footed shot didn’t dip quite quickly enough, ricocheting off the crossbar and back into the field of play.
- One last push from the Racers in the 89th minute resulted in a 3-v-1 attacking opportunity. Freshman center back Anna Cup (Bartlett, Ill./South Elgin), the lone Valpo defender back, stepped at the right time however, causing an MSU pass to be flagged for offside and keeping the 1-1 scoreline.
Inside the Match
- Valpo remains unbeaten at home, with a 3-0-2 record on Brown Field this season through five home fixtures. It is the program’s first time going at least five straight at home to open a season without a loss since the 2017 squad won each of its first five home matches of the year.
- The draw pushes the Beacons’ record to 1-0-3 in MVC play, the fifth time in program history Valpo has opened league action with at least four consecutive matches without a loss. The last such season came in 2021, when Valpo began Valley action 6-0-1 before suffering its first defeat.
- The draw was Valpo’s fifth of the season, matching a program record for number of ties in a single campaign. The 2010, 2011 and spring 2021 seasons all featured five deadlocks as well.
- Joiner moved into a tie atop the MVC stat leaders with her sixth goal of the season. It was the 16th goal of her Valpo career, good for solo eighth position in program history.
- Norfolk’s assist was her third of the season and the fifth of her career. The center back appeared in and started her 78th match in the Valpo uniform Sunday, moving her into a tie for fifth all-time at Valpo in matches played and a tie for third in matches started.
- Valpo out-shot Murray State 17-14 for the match, but the Racers put five shots on frame to Valpo’s four, forcing Coryell to make four saves in the draw. The Beacons also took six of the match’s nine corner kicks.
Thoughts From Coach Marovich
“We came out on the front foot again today — three games in a row, we’ve come out and put in a really good performance to start the game, and today, we got ourselves a goal.”
“Unfortunately, a few minutes later, we lost a runner on a ball into the box and Murray State put it in. But I thought we responded well and gave ourselves a few more chances in the first half that we just weren’t able to put away.”
“Second halves of Sunday games can be really hard — I thought we fought through that and worked really hard, but we just didn’t have enough today in the finishing third, didn’t have that final pass to get three points.”
“The season is a marathon and a grind, so we’ll recover and then turn our attention to getting ready and preparing for Thursday’s match. We have to continue to come out on that front foot — if we do that, we’ll give ourselves opportunities every night.”
Valpo (5-2-5, 1-0-3 MVC) looks to keep its unbeaten record at home and in Valley play intact on Thursday evening when it closes out a three-match homestand against Illinois State. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. and the match can be seen live on ESPN+.