The Valpo soccer team remained unbeaten as it hit the halfway mark of the MVC schedule on Thursday evening, as a physical contest with visiting Illinois State under the Brown Field lights ended in a 1-1 draw.
How It Happened
- Valpo had the better of the first half, putting Illinois State under constant pressure as the Beacons finished the opening 45 minutes with a 10-5 advantage in the shots department.
- The Beacons had a good chance to take the lead in the 19th minute, but the crossbar was not as kind on this night to junior Addy Joiner (Chesterton, Ind./Chesterton) as it was four days ago, as her effort from distance Thursday came off the bar and into the field of play.
- The Redbirds took the lead against the run of play 29 minutes in, as Haley Glover gained possession off a Valpo turnover in the defensive third and took advantage of a one-on-one chance with goalkeeper Nikki Coryell (Aurora, Ill./Metea Valley) to find the back of the net.
- The match went into halftime with Illinois State holding a 1-0 lead.
- The Beacons kept pushing in search of the equalizer in the second half and got a break in the 62nd minute when an Illinois State clearance in the box deflected off a teammate’s arm for handball and a penalty kick.
- Joiner stepped over the penalty and calmly drilled it down the middle to beat ISU goalkeeper Audrey Brown and tie the match at 1-1, which is where it eventually finished.
Inside the Match
- Valpo extended its unbeaten streak to seven consecutive matches (2-0-5) dating back to Sept. 3, the sixth unbeaten streak of at least seven straight fixtures in program history.
- With a 1-0-4 mark at the halfway mark of the MVC slate, the Beacons are unbeaten through five conference matches for the fourth time in program history.
- Valpo remained unbeaten on Brown Field this year with Thursday’s draw, with a record of 3-0-3 to date in the friendly confines. The 2005 side is the only other team in program history to win or draw its first six home matches of the season.
- Thursday’s tie was Valpo’s sixth of the season, already a program record for draws in a single season.
- Joiner moved all alone atop the MVC scoring chart with her penalty goal, as the junior has struck for seven goals this season. She is one goal shy of cracking Valpo’s single-season top-10 goals chart, while her 17 career goals are eighth-most all-time at Valpo and one shy of a tie for sixth.
- Joiner is a perfect 2-for-2 converting penalties this season.
- Fifth-year center back Nicole Norfolk (Menomonee Falls, Wis./Divine Savior Holy Angels) started for the 79th time in her Valpo career, moving into a tie for second in program history in both matches played and matches started.
- Coryell made three saves in Thursday’s draw, while Brown made four saves for the Redbirds. Valpo outshot ISU by an 18-8 margin, but only had a slim 5-4 edge in shots on target.
- Thursday’s match featured 42 fouls and 10 yellow cards.
Thoughts From Coach Marovich
“I was extremely proud of our battle again tonight. We came out on the front foot. I thought our press was really good. We created some excellent chances in the first half, hit a crossbar, put a couple others just wide. At this level, you’ve got to put those away to give yourself an advantage.”
“We had a really good performance tonight — we really just made one mistake and gave a goal away. But we came back, kept pressing, and got ourselves a PK and had some more chances after that.”
“There’s a fine line between winning, getting a draw or even a loss. We’ve played really well recently and I’m proud of the way we’re playing, but that fine line is six inches. You look at our ties, in each game, it’s been one or two plays that if they go six inches or three inches the other way, you’ve got wins. We just have to stay the course, continue to battle and compete because that’s what elite teams do.”
Valpo (5-2-6, 1-0-4 MVC) kicks off the second half of Valley action on Sunday afternoon with a key match at Drake. The Bulldogs currently sit three points ahead of the Beacons in the MVC table. Kickoff is slated for 1 p.m., and the match can be seen live on ESPN+.