The Valpo soccer team continued its march through the 2023 MVC Tournament on Sunday afternoon, as a goal from Kelsie James (Carmel, Ind./Carmel) approaching the midway point of the second half was the difference in the sixth-seeded Beacons’ 1-0 second-round win over third-seeded UNI in Cedar Falls, Iowa. With the victory, Valpo advances to take on second-seeded Missouri State in semifinal action from Des Moines, Iowa on Thursday afternoon.
How It Happened
- The first half came and went with neither side netting a goal, but it wasn’t for a lack of chances, as both sides had quality looks at goal in the opening 45 minutes.
- A free kick straight on from about 25 yards out in the 13th minute set up Addy Joiner (Chesterton, Ind./Chesterton) to go directly for goal, but her effort came back off the crossbar. Off an ensuing Valpo foul, the Panthers countered and got Lauren Heinsch into space with a defender on her shoulder. Heinsch took it just inside the top of the box before shooting, but goalkeeper Nikki Coryell (Aurora, Ill./Metea Valley) was able to leap and punch her shot over the bar to keep it scoreless.
- The Beacons looked to have taken the lead in a scramble in the box in the 16th minute, but a foul was whistled just prior to the goal-bound shot to keep Valpo off the board.
- Defender Aubrey Ramey (Jacksonville, Fla./The Bolles School [DePaul]) had an effort from outside the box in the 25th minute that made its way through a slew of traffic before UNI goalkeeper Caitlin Richards stopped it. The initial save from Richards wasn’t totally clean, but she was able to scoop the ball off the grass before any Beacons could hop on the rebound.
- UNI’s Maddie Eastus had a shot from distance in the 30th minute that forced Coryell to make another jumping stop, pushing it up over the crossbar.
- While Coryell had a number of saves on the day, perhaps the biggest of the match came from one of the four in front of her on the back line. Freshman Daisy Boardman (Warrington, England) was stationed on the left post on a UNI corner kick in the 54th minute, positioned perfectly as, after the ball was pinged around a couple times, UNI’s Olivia Bohl sent a looping effort on goal towards the upper-left corner. Boardman got up to head the ball off the post and away, keeping the match scoreless.
- The 64th minute brought the match’s lone goal on a quick-developing play. Valpo won a throw-in in its attacking half, which went to Lindsey DuSatko (Plainfield, Ill./North), who touched it first time towards the center of the field for Allie Anderson (Wheaton, Ill./Wheaton Warrenville South [Xavier]). Anderson hit a first-time cross far post, where James — taking advantage of only one defender on that side of the field — timed her run well and got in behind onto it in the box. James took the shot on the half-volley inside the near box, easily putting it home with her right foot to give Valpo the lead.
- Given the lead, Valpo defended well in the final 26 minutes, only giving up one shot on goal — which was easily handled from distance — after going in front. The Beacons had a shot to double their lead in the 88th minute which came back off the post, but it proved immaterial as the one goal was enough to send them through to the semifinals.
Inside the Match
- The win advances Valpo to the MVC Tournament semifinals for a fourth straight season.
- This season is the first time Valpo has won multiple matches in one MVC Tournament, as the program had come into this year just 1-8-1 all-time in the MVC Tournament. It is the first time the program has won multiple matches in any league tournament since emerging victorious from both of its matches in the 2014 Horizon League Tournament.
- Combined with Thursday’s shutout of Belmont, Valpo has blanked multiple opponents in the same postseason since a 0-0 draw with Evansville and a 1-0 win over Indiana State in the spring 2021 MVC Tournament.
- The Beacons have won back-to-back matches for just the second time this season, with the first coming back on opening weekend when they defeated Eastern Illinois and Northern Illinois.
- It is the second time this season Valpo has shut out consecutive opponents, previously doing so in the regular season in a win over Indiana State and a draw with Missouri State.
- Sunday’s win was Valpo’s second over UNI this season, as the Beacons previously earned a 2-0 win over the Panthers in the regular season.
- This is Valpo’s first time beating the same team twice in one season since Indiana State in the spring 2021 campaign, and the first time shutting out a team twice in one season since both Indiana State and Evansville that same season.
- It is just the fourth time in program history beating the same team twice in one year and just the fifth time with two clean sheets against the same team in one year.
- The pair of clean sheets this season against the Panthers are even more impressive considering UNI knocked home an MVC-high 45 goals this season, ranked 16th nationally in goals/match entering Sunday’s fixture and were shut out just twice in its 17 matches against opponents outside of Valpo.
- Both of Valpo’s tournament wins on opening weekend came via a 1-0 final, just the second time in the last nine seasons Valpo has won consecutive matches by a 1-0 scoreline.
- The Beacons handed the Panthers their first home loss of the season, as UNI entered Sunday with a perfect 10-0-0 record on its home pitch this year.
- Valpo has blanked UNI in six of its last seven meetings dating back to the start of the 2019 season.
- Coryell made four saves on Sunday to earn the shutout, the 26th of her career. She now is tied for second in MVC history in career shutouts, just one shy of Missouri State’s Jackie Jasper.
- Coryell pushed her career save total to 287 with Sunday’s quartet of stops, three shy of third in program history in the category.
- The parallels to Valpo’s last match at UNI were impeccable, as last season’s regular season matchup in Cedar Falls also resulted in a 1-0 win by the Beacons where their goal came on a play directly following a throw-in — James and Anderson were both involved in that play as well.
- James’ goal was the 13th of her Valpo career, one shy of the program’s all-time top-10. It also gave her 38 career points, tied for ninth-most in program history.
- Anderson picked up the primary assist on the goal, her third of the year, 10th in a Valpo uniform and 11th of her collegiate career. She is now tied for seventh in Valpo history for assists.
- DuSatko’s secondary assist was her fifth of this campaign and her 11th in her time at Valpo. She is tied for fourth in a single season in Valpo history and is tied for third among MVC players this year, while her career total is joint fifth in program history.
Thoughts From Coach Marovich
“I’m just proud of our team’s performance throughout today’s match. Everybody has stepped up and done their part to help us pick up wins in these first two tournament games. Playing without Nicole, it shows the resiliency of our group with the next woman up mentality”
“I thought the defensive work from our back line and from Nikki was outstanding again today. Daisy pulling the ball off the back line in the second half, that’s true grit right there — super excited for her to have that moment in a big game.”
“I’m really happy for Kelsie, with the work she’s put in, to be rewarded with a goal. We talked about trying to get quick crosses in off of throw-ins, and we got a great weighted pass by Allie towards the back post to set up Kelsie for a fantastic half-volley.”
“I want to give credit to my assistant coaches, Bri and Noah, for their work. Their preparation for our two games this week, and their evaluation of today’s first half and suggestions to help us defend better in the second half, was essential.”
Valpo (9-5-6) heads to the MVC Tournament semifinals on Thursday. The sixth-seeded Beacons takes on second-seeded Missouri State at Drake at 3 p.m. Thursday afternoon, live on ESPN+.