The Valparaiso University men’s soccer team came out on the wrong end of a 1-0 final against a Wisconsin team that has received national attention this season and advanced to the NCAA Sweet Sixteen a year ago. Neither side cracked the scoreboard in the opening half, but the Badgers notched the lone goal of the match on a penalty kick in the 52nd minute to conclude a holiday weekend of soccer in Madison, Wis. The weather played a factor on Monday, as the match was moved to Madison College and took place in unfavorable conditions.
How It Happened
- For the second consecutive game, Valpo reached the half against a quality Big Ten opponent with the match scoreless. Shots were hard to come by on both sides with the Badgers holding a slim 6-3 edge in that department.
- The only shot on goal of the opening half came by Wisconsin’s Duncan Storey in the 39th minute when Valpo goalkeeper Nacho Miras (Ubeda, Spain / Nuestra Semora del Pil) made a highlight-reel save to keep the fixture scoreless.
- Valpo had several close calls early in the second half – none closer than a shot by Danny Moreno (Pasto, Colombia / Desert Mountain [Grand Canyon]) that hit the post in the 48th minute. A minute later, a corner kick helped produce a bicycle-style attempt by Michael Marchionna (Naperville, Ill. / Naperville Central) that sailed narrowly high.
- A foul on Valpo in the 52nd minute led to a successful Isaac Schlenker penalty kick (upper right), giving the hosts a 1-0 lead.
- Miras picked up his third save of the match in the 80th minute, diving to deflect a header try created by a corner. He added another stop in the 84th minute to boost his game total to four.
- Rafael Mentzingen (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil / Bryan) provided his team’s first shot on goal of the day in the 85th minute, forcing Wisconsin goalkeeper Dean Cowdroy to make a good save to preserve the late lead.
Inside the Match
- Valpo was outshot for the first time this season with Wisconsin owning the upper hand in shots 14-8 and shots on goal 5-1.
- Miras made a season-high four saves to lift his 2018 total to nine.
- Valpo did not allow a first-half goal against either Big Ten opponent this weekend and surrendered just one goal in each match.
- Wisconsin is receiving votes nationally in the latest United Soccer Coaches poll.
Thoughts from Head Coach Mike Avery
“First and foremost, we want to thank the staff at the University of Wisconsin and at Madison College for helping us get the game in today. As I told the team this morning, the weather has been a nuisance to us and has made both training and games hard to navigate, but when you consider what folks here in Madison have been going through with heavy rains and flooding, us dealing with a little weather is no big deal. Madison College has a beautiful turf field and the UW staff made a great decision to move the game.”
“Obviously, you’re never happy when you come off back-to-back 1-0 losses, and there is a little frustration because you felt like both games could have had a different ending, but the growth that we exhibited over the weekend is going to be invaluable to us moving forward.”
“If you count the preseason, we’ve played six games. Four have been against teams ranked in the Top 25 - and after this weekend, Northwestern might be the fifth. We’ve really challenged ourselves and we’re getting better each time out. Wisconsin is a very good team, well coached and talented, and they really made our defense work. As we grew into the game, we created very good chances, including a terrific strike by Danny Moreno that beat the goalkeeper but banged off the inside of the post. A minute later, Michael Marchionna hit an overhead volley that just missed the goal by inches. Either would have given us a lead and could have sent the game in another direction. In the end, though, Wisconsin took their chance with the PK, and we missed ours and that’s the game. I’m proud of the guys. They battled hard and represented Valpo well.”
Valpo (1-3) will be back in the state of Wisconsin on Friday night to take on former league foe Milwaukee at 7 p.m. The game will be broadcast on ESPN3 and live stats will be available via StatBroadcast.