The Valparaiso University women’s soccer team battled toe-to-toe with defending Missouri Valley Conference regular season champion Drake in both sides’ MVC opener Sunday afternoon at Brown Field, but the Bulldogs found the golden goal in the 98th minute to come away with the 1-0 victory.
How It Happened
- Chances were hard to come by for either side in a scoreless opening 45 minutes. Perhaps the best chance for either squad came in the 38th minute, as senior Cory Griffith (Lemont, Ill./Providence Catholic) got up to nod a header at goal – an effort which saved by Drake goalkeeper Kelsie Stone, charging out towards the ball. The save came right back at Griffith, who got her head on it a second time, but this effort was right of the frame.
- The second 45 minutes would go by with neither team finding the back of the net as well. Outside of a burst of three shot attempts within a one-minute span, Valpo was limited to just two shots in the remainder of the half. Meanwhile, Drake had eight shots in the half, but only one on goal, which sophomore Kezia Gesell (Winnipeg, Manitoba/Glenlawn Collegiate Institute) dealt with cleanly to keep the Bulldogs off the board.
- Drake would come up with the golden goal in the 98th minute. A shot from Alison Walls was blocked by a Valpo defender, but the ricochet went directly to the Bulldogs’ Shelley Lyjak, who found the back of the net for the winning tally.
Inside the Match
- The loss was Valpo’s first in a conference opener since 2013, and just its second in the last eight years.
- Valpo has now been held scoreless in three of its last four outings and five times total on the year. Meanwhile, in its other three matches, Valpo has combined for eight goals.
- Valpo was out-shot on Sunday for just the second time this season, as Drake ended the match with a 12-10 advantage in the category. The Bulldogs also put four shots on goal to Valpo’s two.
Thoughts From Coach Marovich
"We're obviously disappointed with the result, but I thought our fight and our battle today were quite good. Drake won the conference last year, and I felt we played them pretty even today."
"Neither team really gave any chances away today - there weren't a whole lot of opportunities out there. I thought there were large parts of the game where we had some really good shape, and I think we were able to create some opportunities for ourselves during those stretches."
"Unfortunately, late in the game and in overtime, we struggled a bit to connect. We ended up getting pinned in during that first overtime, and eventually Drake was able to take advantage of a half-chance and got the game-winner."
"I'm proud of our players - they went out and competed and battled for 90-plus minutes against a good Valley side today. We just have to get back at it starting Monday for our next test in Valley play at Evansville. We need to continue to push, while at the same time keeping our heads up and staying positive, because we certainly competed very well today."
Valpo (3-5-1, 0-1-0 MVC) goes on the road Saturday night, Sept. 29 to play at Evansville. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m., and the match can be seen live on ESPN3.